THE Senate has passed on third and final reading a bill that reflects the concern over the welfare of people who prefer to walk, bike or use other non-motorized vehicles in going to school, office or other destinations.
Principally authored and sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano, a known health advocate and cyclist, Senate Bill (SB) 1582 calls for the creation of a network of “safe pathways” in various parts of the Philippines.
In filing SB 1582, otherwise known as the “Safe Pathways Act,” Senator Cayetano said the proposal would promote multiple health benefits and help improve the quality of life for the Filipino people.
This, it will do by addressing the worsening problem of air pollution not only in highly-urbanized centers, like Metropolitan Manila, but throughout this graft-prone and impoverished Southeast Asian nation.
Everybody agrees that non-use of motor vehicles, like passenger buses and jeeps, reduces carbon emissions, which contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution.
And extreme weather, food supply disruptions and increased wildfires in various parts of the world, are other adverse effects of climate change or global warming caused by greenhouse gases.
Without doubt, the Senate approval of the bill is good news to the biking community, which has grown significantly due to the crippling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The bill mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to create “a network of bicycle lanes” connecting to essential destinations.
These destinations include government and private offices, hospitals and other medical institutions, shopping malls and groceries, colleges and universities, banks and similar establishments.
Under the proposed legislation, these establishments are duty-bound to provide adequate parking spaces for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles.