/ 7 April 2021

CAMARINES SUR Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte pushed a measure that encourages the use of bicycles and other non-motorized transportation by students in going to school.

House Bill 9125 or the proposed Safe Routes to Schools Act aims to ensure that the needs and safety of all road users, particularly the need for pedestrian and bicycle lanes, are fully integrated into the planning, design, operation and maintenance of the country’s transportation system.

The measure mandates the Department of Transportation to establish and carry out safe routes to schools for the benefit of students in primary and secondary schools.

In his explanatory note, the lawmaker said that 1.2 million people die from road and traffic injuries every year.

He also cited studies from the World Health Organization saying that the third leading cause of premature death is road accident.

“The death rate is highest in developing countries such as the Philippines, where poverty has caused people to take road safety for granted,” Villafuerte stressed.

The use of bicycles, as well as walking is environment-friendly and more affordable, he said.

“It instills health consciousness among people, increases physical fitness, provides affordable mobility, alleviates traffic congestion, and does not pollute the air or emit climate-disrupting carbon dioxide,” Villafuerte added.

The proposed law seeks to enable children, including students with disabilities, to walk and cycle to primary and secondary schools and to make walking and cycling to schools safer and more appealing, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age.

The bill will facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and secondary schools.