By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY – The launch of the Global Road Safety Status Report (GRSSR) and the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the National Coalition on Child Road Traffic Injury Prevention (NC-CRTIP) was held on Monday (Dec. 18) at the B Hotel in this city.

The national coalition was convened by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines.

The MOU was geared to protect Filipino children from road injury aligned with the vision of the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan 2023-2028 (PRSAP).

“To address road safety concerns in the country, we have developed the PRSAP. This plan, together with the WHO global report on road safety, will guide us in implementing and monitoring efforts to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries in the Philippines,” DOTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said.

Road crashes are the top killer of children and youth worldwide, a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday (Dec. 18) said.

More than half of the fatalities are among pedestrians and motorcyclists, the report added.

“The tragic tally of road crash deaths is heading in the right direction, downwards, but nowhere near fast enough. Road safety is a multisectoral concern. We should continue to work together to keep our road safe,” Dr. Rui Paolo de Jesus, WHO Representative in the Philippines, said.

Based on 2019 data on the age distribution of all-cause mortality, road traffic injury remains the leading cause of death for children and young people aged five to 29 years old and is the 12th leading cause of death when all ages are considered, according to the GRSSR 2023.

In the Philippines, at least 1,670 Filipino children die due to road crashes every year, according to public interest group ImagineLaw citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“One child lost due to road crashes is one death too many,” Atty. Sophia San Luis, executive director of ImagineLaw, said.

The NC-CRTIP is an inter-agency and multisectoral coalition that will strengthen collaboration among agencies and road safety stakeholders in protecting children from road crashes.

“This coalition is us working together in building a country that protects children from road crashes,” San Luis said.

“Political will is needed to address children’s death because of road crashes – from proper education and awareness among stakeholders to better infrastructure and improved road systems that protect vulnerable road users. Ang kalsadang ligtas sa bata ay ligtas sa lahat (A road safe for children is safe for all),” she added.

Among others, the MOU was signed by the DOTr, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Public Works and Highways, Council for the Welfare of Children, and the Metro Manila Development Authority.