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FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN

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FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN
« on: October 18, 2016, 05:21:19 PM »
FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN
Published on October 8, 2006 - The Bohol Standard Newspaper
PART 2

Here’s a feedback from my sister, Jet based in California, U.S.A., a mother juggling between raising 3 precocious kids–TJ, Ana and Brandon-and studying nursing. It’s on my last Sunday’s article, “For the Safety of our Children” where I cited safety regulations for riding children in U.S. and Europe:

“Gee, include the need of helmets for bike-riding. Kids here, 0-12 yrs old, are not allowed to sit at the front mainly because during accidents, when the airbag - that thing nga mura'g balloon nga mo-inflate sa vehicle to cushion - comes off at impact, it kills a child that young. Limit na lang the no. of passengers allowed in a motorcycle instead of a law for the seating arrangement in a motorcycle....also limit the age of kids allowed to ride w/ grown-ups in a motorcycle (e.g., 0-12 ba kaha) instead of letting the kid sit in front (i think this is likewise not advisable). gud luck.”

I thank Jet for the suggestions. It may be recalled that last Sunday, I wrote about the accident I witnessed about a week ago during which a kid, about 7 years old, fell off from the moving motorcycle after he rode on the rear of the vehicle way behind the driver, the female passenger and his bag. In my article, I wrote that I admonished the woman to make the child sit between the driver and herself for the child’s safety.

When I wrote the article, I was limited by the reality that in our province, most of the residents have to make do with motorcycles for bringing their kids to and from school because of their understandable inability to buy cars. So, to my thinking, the most that we could do here is to call for the regulation of the seating arrangement of kids riding on motorcycles.

The most ideal regulations would, of course, be those suggested by Jet, as practised in the U.S. and in Europe. Prohibit kids between 0-12 years of age from riding at the front of cars. Require helmets also for bike-riders and motorcycle passengers. Limit the number of riders on motorcycles to two-the driver and one passenger. Prohibit kids 12 years old and below from riding on motorcycles.

Of course, if these regulations are not followed, it should not be the kids that should be penalized, but the parent/guardian/adult riding with the kids.

We likewise maintain that the seat-belt law should be strictly implemented. I am not aware if the existing seat-belt law covers children riding at the back of cars, as usually, the seat-belt law is imposed against passengers riding in front.

Rules on riding children have never been included in our national laws on children, e.g., the Anti-Child Abuse Act. The nearest applicable provision would be that on “neglect” of children which is, however, more general than specific. We have no national law yet specifically on how to make it safe for riding children.

Neither have rules on riding children been included in the Bohol Children’s Code, even while I was a member of its Technical Working Group (TWG).

This should be a good starting point for our city lawmakers, led by Vice-Mayor Jas Montes, who are now in the process of drafting the City Children’s Code.

I was invited to the consultation last September 22 at 2:00 p.m. for the said drafting but was not able to make it. Unfortunately, I had a hearing in Talibon that Friday morning and I arrived in Tagbilaran only at almost 3:00 p.m., “lunchless.” Our hearing wound up at almost 12:00 noon and I didn’t want to eat my lunch in Talibon and be delayed further from my trip back home. Hence, I endured an empty stomach for almost 3 hours. Resultantly, I was too tired to attend to any work after my late lunch.

Perhaps, if given the chance to attend another consultation, I would take up the cudgels and lobby for the inclusion of rules on riding children, raising the accident I witnessed. Otherwise, members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod who may chance upon my last Sunday’s and today’s articles could take the cue.

As to the Bohol Children’s Code, while it has taken effect for 6 years already, it is regrettable that until now, it has no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

The Bohol Children’s Code pioneers the penalization of some cultural forms of “disciplining” children, like making the child kneel on salt, or putting the child inside a sack and hanging the sack, or hitting a child with objects like chalks or erasers, etc… It likewise punishes the commodification of children like arranged marriages or requiring the girls to participate in benefit dances during which the men dance with them after they pay the organizing group fees representing the perceived “value” of the girls.

The Bohol Children’s Code likewise makes illegal the enactment of school rules prohibiting pregnant students from graduating even if they had complied with all the academic requirements.

We recently raised this matter involving one of the universities here. After some noise was made by the student government, the rule-which turned out to be without the blessings of the higher school authorities-was scrapped.

Years back, I also represented a pregnant graduating Engineering student who was told that in order to graduate, she would have to get married, whether with the father of the child she was carrying or with any man if the father refuses to marry her. Fortunately, our letter of opposition based on the provisions of the Bohol Children’s Code was given due merit and the student was allowed to graduate.

We cannot discount the power of our local ordinances on children. Hence, we firmly lobby for the inclusion of rules on riding children in our upcoming City Code on Children. Or better yet, likewise amend the Bohol Children’s Code for the same reason.

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=82979.msg645853#msg645853
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