NCRPO targets colorum, packed school vehicles

Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar

NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday said they are targeting not only ‘zero crime incidents’ in different public and private schools in Metro Manila today but also ‘zero accidents’ by seeing to it that all traffic rules and regulations will be strictly enforced.

To do this, the NCRPO chief said he has ordered a Metro Manila-wide crackdown on overloaded and out of franchise tricycles, motorcycles, jeepneys and other school service vehicles “for the protection of our children.”

Eleazar said officers manning school vicinities will be accosting drivers of both private and for-hire motor vehicles should they be found to be violating simple law like overloading, non-wearing of seatbelts and helmets and the law  banning small children from riding as passengers on motorcycles.

Republic Act 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 states that children only below 18 years old may be allowed to board a motorcycle only in the following cases:

First, if the child passenger can comfortably reach his or her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle; second, if the child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle driver; and third, if the child is wearing the standard protective helmet or gear.

Children are also prohibited from sitting in front of the rider. However, the law doesn’t apply in cases of medical emergencies, if the child to be transported needs immediate medical help.

Violators of RA 10666 will be charged P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 for the second offense, and P10,000 with a one-month suspension of the driver’s license for the third offense. For succeeding offenses, the driver’s license will automatically be revoked.

As deputized agents of the Land Transportation Office, members of the NCRPO will enforce the said law in order to secure the safety of child passengers.

The move is necessary since according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, an average of 671 children have died every year in road crashes in the Philippines from 2006 to 2014. Among the children, the most vulnerable are those 5-9 years old, and those 10-14.

Eleazar said they also want to address the proliferation of overloaded tricycles in schools since they are not only illegal but also unsafe. Most local government units allow their duly-accredited tricycle operators to carry only four passengers at the most but it is very common to see tricycle drivers in schools carrying more than six students.

The NCRPO director said this is the reason why are fully supporting a law which will increase the penalty of overloading of passengers in public utility vehicles.

Amid observations that inadequate enforcement of traffic laws in the country is one of the main causes of road accidents, the NCRPO wants to address the matter by seeing to it that public transport vehicles will only carry passengers within their carrying capacity.

Eleazar has ordered the entire NCRPO police force to field its personnel in strategic areas within the vicinity of schools for foot, mobile and police visibility patrols and establish Police Assistance Desks manned by police and BPAT personnel with the strategic goal of “zero crime incident in all school and university areas”.

Eleazar said they are targeting ‘zero crime incidents’ in different public and private schools and other learning institutions and asked for the full cooperation of the community in helping them detect and arrest criminality.

“We   are   expecting   2.6 million students   from   kinder   to   senior   high school to go to school today. Our priority is to secure them against lawless elements and keep the school premises safe from all perpetrators,” Eleazar said as he ordered massive police deployment at the University Belt District of Manila and other schools and universities in the metropolis to complement foot and mobile operations of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams and local police units.

“We put premium in the safety and security of our students here in Metro Manila, especially those in the elementary and high school. Their vulnerability to be target of criminals and other opportunists because of their tender age is something that must be protected by our men in the field,” the member of Philippine Military ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 said.