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PIA Press Release

LTO, PNP warn motorbike drivers, riders vs driving without helmet

by Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (21 November) -- Motorcycle drivers and backriders, beware! the Land Transportation Office here will strictly implement the 'no helmet, no travel policy' anytime soon, says Supervising Transportation Regulation Officer Gerald Dominguez.

Dominguez said LTO officers from the region will be coming to Siquijor starting next week to effect the law. He said drivers and backriders found not wearing helmets while traveling will be fined P1,500 each aside from the other violations the officers may find in the operation.

The warning was also backed up by Police Superintendent Efren H. Ysulat, Provincial Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) here during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting Wednesday at the Provincial Capitol, Siquijor, Siquijor.

Ysulat said he has instructed all his men to enforce the law and be the role models for all motorists to follow. He said, however that he has given his men until the end of this month to acquire helmets so that by December 1 all of them will already be wearing helmets when driving. He also said he has tried talking with the LTO to give time for the operators/passengers to acquire helmets and possibly fully implement the law in January of next year yet.

But Dominguez said, the regional office has already given him a go signal and that he is bound to implement it full force as soon as he is done with his information drive.

Dominguez explained that the law is for the protection of drivers and passengers from accidents and to prevent the aggravation of vehicular accidents.

Deaths and injuries from motorcycles accidents has been one of the issues tackled in the previous PPOC meetings so that Dominguez said it is high time we put teeth to the law.

"Wearing of helmets is a safety measure for all motorcycles drivers and passengers to prevent possible head and brain injury or even untimely death," he said quoting the memorandum circular issued to their office.

According the World Health Organization (WHO) road accidents have become major public health problem in Asia and the Pacific. 10 million people are severely injured or killed annually on the region's roads, the WHO said.

With Asia accounting for only 16% of the world's vehicles, road deaths rose by nearly 40% between 1987 and 1995 - while in developed nations, it fell by about 10% because of better safety measures.

The WHO reported that "most motorcycle deaths are a result of head injuries. While wearing a helmet correctly can cut the risk of death by almost 40 percent, many countries do not strictly enforce laws covering the use of helmets.

Key safety measures include seat belts and helmets, speed and alcohol intake restrictions, enhanced vehicle standards and road design and conditions, WHO said.

Most injuries among motorcycle riders are to the head, so helmets could significantly reduce road trauma, WHO said.

Earlier this year, Rep. Narciso D. Santiago III has also filed House Bill 4751, a bill pushing for the mandatory use of helmets when riding bicycles, non-motorized scooters, roller skates or roller blades and skateboards.

In filing the bill, the solon said riding anything with wheels is very dangerous and most of the time, people are exposed to various injuries, especially head traumas.

He said it is common knowledge that majority of Filipinos do not wear helmets or any protective gear when they ride bikes and scooters, or use roller skates, roller blades and skateboards.

The bill provides that a person who intends to ride a bike, non-motorized scooter, roller blades or roller skates and skateboard must wear helmets properly, and other headgears for this purpose, set by an appropriate government agency or by any applicable international standards.

In case there is an offender, he or she will initially receive a warning informing him or her of the requirements under this act.

The measure also provides for the distribution of educational materials on bicycle helmet use. Repeat offenders however, or parents or guardians of minors who are repeat offenders, will be fined P500.00 for each repeated offense.

Based on HB 4751, or the "Safe Riders Act of 2008", this bill will apply at all times while a bicycle, non motorized scooters, roller skates or roller blades and skateboards are being operated on any street, roads, parks or other property open to the public or used by the public for pedestrian or vehicular traffic as well as for places of recreation.

This act shall also apply at all times to any person who is riding a bike or non-motorized scooter including a person who is a passenger to these wheeled contraptions.

Santiago said this bill aims to remedy the "vacuum" in the law since there is still no legislation promoting the use of helmets even as skateboards, scooters, roller blades or roller skates are being used.

DENR USEC to keynote Iloilo bamboo market week opening

Iloilo City (21 November) -- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Edgardo C. Manda is the keynote speaker of the Iloilo Bamboo Market week opening at the SM City Iloilo event center on Monday, November 24, 2008.

The week-long event will include exhibits of bamboo products and a market encounter between buyers and sellers of bamboo.

It will also feature a bamboowear fashion show by international lifestyle consultant PJ Aranador.

Also, symposia on bamboo propagation, utilization and markets will be conducted where resource persons where invited to talk on related topics.

On November 26, Carmelita Bersalona of International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) will talk on the status of the bamboo industry at the international level, DENR VI's Butch Marquez will talk on bamboo propagation, and a representative from the Department of Science and Technology will give a bamboocraft demonstration.

On November 27, Iloilo Bamboo Producers for Development, Inc (IBPDI) President Glenda Dagdag will talk on bamboo utilization and markets and a resource speaker from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas School of Technology will talk on bamboo for food.

The Iloilo Bamboo Market Week is organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, provincial and city governments of Iloilo, Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, UP in the Visayas School of Technology, Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources and Development Consortium, DENR and the municipal government of Maasin with IBPDI as lead private implementor.

Manda will be joined by Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas, Iloilo City Lone District Congressman Raul Gonzales, Jr.and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas during the event. (RGH/PIA) [top]

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