The House of Representatives is working on passing a bill that would penalize drivers for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
House Bill 6570, authored by Rep. Strike Revilla and Rep. (and former President) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, seeks to prohibit leaving children aged eight years or younger unattended in a motor vehicle.
HB 6570 states that while in a motor vehicle with the engine running or the key inside, a child must always be attended to by someone of legal age or at least 18 years of age. The bill proposes a table of penalties for the driver of the vehicle of PhP 5,000 for the first offense, PhP 10,000 for the second offense, and PhP 50,000 for the third offense along with confiscation of the license. Subsequent offenses shall ensure the revocation of the driver's license.
The bill has passed its second reading and was endorsed by the chairperson of the House committee on the welfare of children Rep. Divina Grace Yu. The bill also orders the Land Transportation Office to initiate and execute a public awareness campaign to inform the public of the dangers of leaving kids unattended in a vehicle. If signed into law, the LTO, together with the member agencies of the Council for the Welfare of Children, shall draw up the implementing rules and regulations.
“We leave children unaccompanied in motor vehicles every day for a variety of reasons, not knowing of the risks of leaving them alone,” said Rep. Strike Revilla in a press release.
“These injuries and deaths were caused by heat stroke, a motor vehicle being put in motion by a child, choking while inside a car, being kidnapped, inhaling toxic fumes, activation of automatic power controls, or being trapped in the vehicle’s trunk,” continued Revilla.
Last January 4, 2017, an 8-year old girl was found inside a vehicle that a family used to go to the mall. Family members forgot that she was sleeping inside after their trip, and she subsequently suffocated and lost her life.
“Through education and legislation, the injuries and deaths caused by the dangerous practice of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles can be greatly reduced,” said Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Parents, relatives or guardians should always be made aware that unsupervised children in a motor vehicle pose a great threat to their safety and unnecessary emotional burden to their families.”