Safe Pathways Bill to aid COVID-19 ‘road to recovery’, new normal — senators

Published February 1, 2021, 9:35 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators said the passage of the proposed “Safe Pathways Act” will help in the country’s recovery and shift to a new normal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Members of the Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading Monday, February 1, the Senate Bill No. 1582, which calls for the establishment of a network of safe pathways in the country for walking, cycling and use of other non-motorized vehicles.

“The pandemic compelled us to reinvent and re-envision a transportation system that is less dependent on motorized vehicles and roads that are safer for people,”  Senator Grace Poe, one of the authors and sponsors of the bill, said in a statement.

“As the economy slowly opens up and we’re anticipating the arrival of the vaccines within the month, we look forward to schools eventually opening their doors once again. Our goal is to clear up the road to recovery by then where obstructions would have been removed and existing structures improved,” she added.

The chairperson of the Senate public services committee said the bill would also address problems of commuters and the lack of infrastructure for their safety.

“Our roads are so unfriendly to people that those who want to walk or ride a bike to work feel discouraged to do so because they are not given a designated lane,” she lamented.

“In fact, our sidewalks aren’t even enough to accommodate lines of commuters so they end up dangerously occupying some lanes of the road. How can we expect people to follow if we don’t provide the necessary infrastructure?” she pointed out.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto likewise said the bill is “way forward” for the education sector. He said this will help reduce the cost of transportation, which he cited as a cause of school incompletion.