Children are one of the most vulnerable road users. Especially now that schools are starting to conduct face-to-face classes once again, many students are being brought to schools using motorcycles as primary commute. With the skyrocketing fuel prices, it is understandable why many Filipinos are opting to use two-wheeled vehicles to get their kids to school. But despite its practicality, not every student enjoys equal safety on the road.
Inculcating the importance of road safety to students, the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) helped in the local implementation of the ‘Safety Delivered’ campaign by the AIP Foundation, a non-profit organization from Vietnam dedicated to decreasing road crash casualties by providing safety interventions to road users. The campaign, which was also supported by the UPS Foundation, was brought to the country with the help of AAP and Department of Education Mandaluyong, aimed to provide safety helmets as well as educated the students of Filemon P. Javier Elementary School and Doña Basilisa Yangco Elementary School in Mandaluyong City regarding road safety.
Tessa Santos, Community Involvement Committee (CIC) Executive Sponsor, UPS Philippines, shared “collaboration is at the heart of sustainable change in our society and positive impact for a brighter future. UPS and The UPS Foundation are very proud to be at the forefront of safe mobility in the Philippines, together with reliable and committed partners. The alarming low helmet-wearing rate among students highlights the urgent need for preventive action to fight this public health crisis that disproportionately affects young people.”
Among surveyed students – at Filemon P. Javier and Dona Basilisa Yangco schools – who travel by bicycle or other two/three-wheeled motorized vehicles, the number of students who do not own a helmet is 76.7% and 71.4% respectively. Among those who own or have access to a helmet, the number reported to always wear helmets when commuting to and from school is 46.8% and 51.1% respectively.
Helmets are a uniquely affordable and effective protection against head injuries on the road. Wearing a quality helmet can reduce the risk of death by 42% and the risk of serious brain injury by 69%. The helmet handover will promote community awareness of the life-saving importance of increasing child helmet use. As the students, their parents, and school administrators will be attending the ceremony, this event is a good way to raise road safety awareness among the school community. Parents will share their commitment to ensuring their child’s safety by signing a commitment letter vowing that their child will wear a helmet.
Mark F. Desales, Chief Executive Officer, Automobile Association Philippines, shared “it is very important that helmet safety education reaches students and their communities in the Philippines. Supporting Safety Delivered program marks our commitment to encourage all road users in the Philippines to wear helmets on the roads by promoting meaningful behavior.”
Following the handover ceremony, the students together with their parents and guardians were educated about the proper wearing of helmets. The demonstration was conducted by the representatives from AAP and UPS Vietnam. The program conducted fun and interactive way for students to be educated about road safety and the importance of helmet use.
As their way of giving back, the students expressed their gratitude by giving special performance numbers, and personal hand-drawn artworks to the people who graced the event.
Mirjam Sidik, AIP Foundation CEO, shared “We believe in a human-centered approach to mobility. This means streets and cities where children can cycle, walk, and ride safely to school to access their education and their future. This is our wish for every student at the Filemon P. Javier and Dona Basilisa Yangco schools and around the world. This event today is bringing us closer to our vision of a world where all neighborhood streets are livable, safe, and sustainable.”