Imee Marcos calls for more precautionary measures at road safety summit

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Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos called for closer cooperation and a “hierarchy of control” among government agencies tasked with ensuring road safety in light of recent accidents in the Ilocos Region resulting in fatalities.

Speaking before the Road Safety Summit conducted by regional offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) at the Provincial Capitol of La Union on April 30, Governor Marcos said that “in many cases, the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and LGUs (local government units) have been unable to provide adequate safety precautionary measures to prevent accidents and fatalities.”

As chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), the governor initiated the immediate gathering of agencies and stakeholders of the transport and road sectors at the last RPOC meeting on April 18 in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

According to statistics, a total of 4,000 incidents had been recorded in the Ilocos Region for the first quarter of 2018, surpassing figures from the same time period in 2017 and 2016. Among the 4,000 incidents, 260 deaths were documented.

Moreover, a total of 73 vehicular stoning incidents have already been recorded also for the first quarter of this year.

Governor Marcos pointed out, “this has also been a real issue on account of many construction, maintenance, and repair efforts on the Manila North Road and other roads. Even as we welcome President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, and Build’ program, these accidents have been rampant.”

She emphasized the need for cooperation among the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), together with the PNP, DPWH, and LGUs.

Road safety should be systematic, hierarchical

“It is important to come up with a safe system approach, with ‘system’ meaning ‘kabuuan’ – hindi lamang yung pulis na maghuhuli ng mga overspeeding, hindi lamang yung LGU na maglalagay ng barrier,” Governor Marcos added, “It is time that we discuss a hierarchy of control.”

She pointed out that confusion over which agency has jurisdiction on various road safety issues would only lead to more accidents and fatalities. “Hindi pwedeng isaalang-alang at itulak ang responsibilidad ng road safety sa ating kapulisan lamang. Kailangan, lahat tayo ay tumulong – lahat ng stakeholders, mga bus driver, bus operators, jeepney drivers and motorists, hobbyists, tricycles, at iba pa,” she urged.

The summit proper included presentations by representatives from the Police Regional Office I, LTO-RO1, and DPWH-RO1 on statistics regarding vehicular accidents; traffic regulations, violations, and penalties; road obstructions and proper signages; and road safety tips.

Aside from representatives of the aforementioned agencies, other participants of the Road Safety Summit were heads or managers of different bus lines operating in Northern Luzon as well as provincial, municipal, and city officials from all over Region One.

Governor Marcos further suggested that LGUs be stricter in implementing anti-drunk driving measures and curfews. She also encouraged the media and academe to help in disseminating advisories and conducting pedestrian education.

In addition, she shared that tourism growth in the region would necessitate upgraded safety of passengers, especially youth, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).