The Philippines has extensive national laws that aim to address the five major risk factors for safer road users. However, the lack of effective policies and strict enforcement at the local level hinders road safety efforts. Many cities and municipalities are not aware that they are empowered to adopt road safety policies on the strength of its local autonomy to adopt general welfare measures, such as the enactment of comprehensive road safety ordinances.
The experience of Quezon City in adopting its Road Safety Code is the first of its kind in the Philippines. Quezon City has the biggest land mass among cities in Metro Manila and covers almost one-fourth of its total population, thus contributing to the majority of road crashes in the area. From 2010 to 2016, Quezon City has had the highest number of crashes and crash-related fatalities and injuries in Metro Manila, accounting for 33 717 out of 1 09 322 incidents.
These alarming figures compelled the City to act urgently to enact a Road Safety Code. Upon the initiative and assistance of ImagineLaw, a public interest law organization, the City commenced the development of the Code through (i) a policy assessment of the City’s existing road safety ordinances and programs, (ii) multi-sectoral technical drafting sessions among relevant departments within the local government, and (iii) public hearings and consultations with public transport associations, car owners, biker and motorcyclist groups, homeowners associations, barangays (smallest administrative unit) and other stakeholders.
Within four months from an initial briefing and workshop, Quezon City was able to adopt a comprehensive ordinance based on the five pillars in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety and international best practices. Motivated by Quezon City’s success, cities of Ormoc and Tuguegarao have been working on similar road safety ordinances in their localities.
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