‘Teaching kids about road safety can lessen accidents’

Posted on November 6, 2011

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STARTING them young.

This is one of Pilipinas Shell’s goal in holding its road safety camp in Cebu City for children.

It’s ultimate goal is to lessen road accidents by educating children about road safety.

Ronald Pacio, road safety manager for Downstream Pilipinas Shell, said they also had programs with adults but they focused on the road safety program with kids.

“At their age, they will start to learn and because of their cognitive thinking, they can easily determine the speeds and the sounds of the ambulance signifying that there is an emergency,” Pacio said.

Pilipinas Shell had implemented the Road Safety for Children campaign for more than a decade as a response to World Health Organizations (WHO) findings of the roads in the Philippines being among the most dangerous in the world for pedestrians, who are mostly children.

The WHO also said that 90 percent of road accidents happened in low or middle-income countries like the Philippines with children as the most likely victims.

As part of the program, Pilipinas Shell held its Shell Road Safety Camp for Children 2011 with the tagline, “Making road safety a priority,” held in SM City Cebu Trade Hall yesterday.

This is, however, only the second road safety camp in the Philippines with the first one held in Bacolod City last week.

Joan Tan, terminal manager of Shell-Mandaue branch, said 200 grade 5 and grade 6 pupils from Mandaue and Cebu City schools joined the camp.

The students came from Mandaue City Central School, Cesar M. Cabahug Elementary School (formerly Looc Elementary School), Tejero Elementary School and Cebu City Central School.

The students joined in the jingle competition where each school would interpret songs containing safety messages. The Tejero Elementary School won this contest.

Pacio said that the firm supported the program of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety which was launched last May 11 of this year.

Pacio, however, said that the road problems were not only found in the Philippines but also around the world.

According to the WHO statistics, a person dies in a road accident for every six seconds.

To implement the road safety program, Pilipinas Shell has partnered with the Department of Education (Mandaue and Cebu City Deivision), Land of Transportation Office (LTO), Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and other government and nongovernment offices.

The UN 2004 statistics show that road accidents ranked 9th among the causes of global disabilities.

“If we will not do anything, magkaincrease ang fatalities so dapat magtinabangay ang government and other partners in the community,” said Pacio in working together to improve road safety.

Raul Aguilos, LTO-7 regional director, for his part, said that there were more children who were killed in road accidents than of dengue incidents.

“That is why there is a need of teaching the children about the importance and value of road safety,” he said.

Senior Supt. Ramon Buenafe, Cebu City Police Office chief, also cited the importance of the program.

“If they (kids) are aware on how to be careful and cautious in the road, dako kana og matabang sa mga kapolisan kay wala na mi imbistigahon or bantayan,” Buenafe said.

He also assured of his help to the Mandaue City government to help strengthen the implementation of the road safety campaign.

Aside from the road safety workshop on children, Pilipinas Shell also has a Driver’s Education program, which was approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Pacio said that, Shell Foundation, established the 42-hectare Shell Driving Academy at Pililla, Rizal. This is to help educate public utility vehicle and truck drivers on road safety and safe driving habits.

Shell also created the 12 Life-Saving Rules which included no using of mobile phones while driving, wearing of seatbelts, and no drinking of alcohol while driving.

Pacio said these 12 rules were made mandatory for its employees and contractors to serve as the firms commitment on the importance of road safety.

Pacio said those employees who would break the rules would face disciplinary action or worse would be terminated from work.

The contractors could be removed from the site and barred from working with Shell in the future. /STC Intern Tweeny Malinao

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