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theWeeklySillimanian | February 14, 2021

The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, more popularly known as the “child car seat law,” has been making a buzz these past few weeks as it appears to be a public ridicule for many. Philippines, the country with one of the worst COVID-19 responses and where the unemployment rate continues to soar, have decided to implement an inconsiderate regulation amidst pandemic– a downright manifestation of misplaced priorities. 

But to be clear: the car seat law is grounded on solid research findings that tackle a valid and pressing public safety issue. The World Health Organization reports that, if properly installed and used, car seats will minimize the risk of infant mortality by 70% and by 47 to 54% (about half) for children aged 1 to 4 years in the event of an accident.

Also, the legislation was signed into law last two years ago, in February 2019. Yet even with sufficient time for public dissemination, we have not heard anything from the Land Transportation Office (LTO). This raises the question: what did the LTO do during the two years it had to brace the public for the costly imported car seats to find out about the law, follow the law, and save up?

The requirement for a 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course for a student-driver permit remains a horror for many because of its costly fees; Now, families are burdened with securing child car seats amid a downturn to adhere to the recent implementation.

And in this time of the pandemic, with children under the age of 15 being barred from public areas, including the streets of the country, the request by lawmakers and other sectors to delay the enforcement of the law makes more sense. Similarly, the required procurement of a car seat will prove to be a serious drain on the struggling finances of a family at a time when unemployment rates are escalating and with many industries and businesses halted.

The Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) believes that priorities, at these trying times, must be accurately aligned to the interest of the public. The Philippines is far from getting better: COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, the unemployment rate and economy are swerving, and the abrupt price hike is unfathomable. 

The child car seat law, though well-intentioned and prompted by the public good, is hijacked by the shoddy work of government entities charged with enforcing it.

The child car seat law is not a joke. Let’s buckle up ahead. 


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