Safe Summer

Published May 2, 2019, 4:05 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

In this column, I would like to bring attention to three seemingly minor things that we do not pay much attention to.
The first is about swimming lessons; the second is on pets in public utility vehicles; and the third is on overloaded school buses.
Swimming Lessons 
Although learning how to swim has no relation to motoring, I would like to bring up this topic because summer is the time for road trips, which usually end in a place where you go swimming.
A recent story on the Philippine National Police pushing for the inclusion of swimming lessons in the academic program caught my attention. That statement was made after the PNP recorded 45 deaths due to drowning in less than three weeks in April – from April 5 to 21, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said.
“This serves as an eye opener, possibly for agencies and organizations involved in promoting personal safety to initiate programs to develop basic drown-proofing and swimming skills,” said Albayalde.
If you are thinking of sending your kids to a summer class, I suggest it should be for swimming lessons. 
The skill can make summer safer.
Pets in PUVs
Pets are now allowed to ride public utility vehicles (PUVs) – with their owners, of course.  That’s because the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) signed a measure permitting domestic animals inside public utility vehicles (PUVs).
The Board released last Friday a memorandum amending a provision in Memorandum Circular 2011-004 which provides the terms and conditions of certificate of public convenience and providing penalties for violations.
In the 2011 order, it states that PUV operators “shall not load animals of any kind, except fowls, in the carriage of such fowls and other animals the convenience, comfort and safety of the passengers shall not in any way be sacrificed. Any cargo which emits foul odor shall be covered with canvass or any other suitable material so that it not be offensive to passengers.”
The said memo was amended through Memoramdum Circular 2019-019 dated April 15 which now allows pet animals inside PUVs provided that some conditions are met.
The deal is – the pets should be inside carriers or cages and should be placed at the designated animal compartment of the PUV if there are other passengers inside the vehicle.
But if there are no other passengers, the LTFRB said “pets may be allowed to be carried by the owner as long as they are free from foul odor and that the owner maintains cleanliness and sanitation.”
But if the pet misbehaves and causes damage, the order says: “The possessor or pet owner shall be responsible for the damage that the pet may cause, including the cleaning and sanitation of the PUV, as may be necessary,” the memorandum also stated.
The Board emphasized that “safety, convenience and comfort of the passengers shall not in any way be sacrificed” in bringing these pet animals.
LTFRB chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III and Board Members Engr. Ronaldo Corpus and retired Gen. Antonio Gardiola have signed a memo making the order take take effect immediately after publication.
Overloaded school bus
Most children spend many hours of their time  in the school bus. 
While the government has enough laws regulating the road worthiness of school buses, one more ordinance was added to that recently – this time to regulate overloading. That’s right – overloading. 
Late last week, the Quezon City Council moved to regulate this practice and passed an ordinance that prohibits the city’s school bus drivers from overloading their service vehicles.
Introduced by Councilor Eric Medina, City Ordinance 2788-2018 prohibits students from riding or boarding a school service vehicle when there are no more available seats. The ordinance aims to address the practice of allowing students to stand-up or hang on the outside or the rear-end portion of school services when ferrying them to their destinations.
Violators of this ordinance will face a fine of P2,000 or community service for five days for the first offense; P3,000 or community service for 10 days for the second offense; and P5,000 or one-year imprisonment or both penalties for the succeeding offense, based on the discretion of the court.
“Such practice of allowing student-passengers to board or ride in public or private school transport service despite the lack of available seats does not only compromise public safety and convenience but constitute an utter disregard of the law,” the ordinance read.
By Pinky Concha Colmenares