Traffic on EDSA near the Kamuning Avenue flyover is heavy again on Tuesday after the long, 5-day holiday amid the visit of Pope Francis. Despite some roads being closed for motorcades during the papal visit, the holidays kept traffic light in the metropolis. (MNS photo)

Traffic on EDSA near the Kamuning Avenue flyover is heavy again on Tuesday after the long, 5-day holiday amid the visit of Pope Francis. Despite some roads being closed for motorcades during the papal visit, the holidays kept traffic light in the metropolis. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has filed a bill that seeks to provide “reliable road instructions to motorists and improve road safety” in the Philippines, which is notorious for having one of the worst road conditions in the world.

Under Senate Bill No. 2886, or “An Act Regulating Street and Road Signs, Waiting Sheds, Speed Bumps, Sidewalks, Pavements, Streetlights and Other Similar Infrastructures, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is mandated to set specific standards and measurements for all road infrastructures such as road signs, streetlights, pavement markings, waiting sheds, sidewalks and speed bumps across the country.

“There is a need to put in place regulations that will promote a uniform and consistent standard for the design and installation of road signs, waiting sheds, streetlights, speed bumps and other road infrastructures not only to promote safety but also to advance aesthetics throughout the country’s thoroughfares,” Escudero said in a statement on Friday.

He pointed out the World Health Organization’s report which showed that about 7,000 Filipinos die each year, and thousands more are injured due to road mishaps. Out of this number, 79 percent are due to driver’s errors, 11 percent due to defective vehicles, and 10 percent due to bad road conditions and ill-maintained roads.

The senator also cited the latest data from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) which showed that death toll due to road mishaps rises by almost 14.6 percent every year. It was projected that by 2020, without any intervention, around 300,000 people will die due to road crashes, the DOTC said.

“Our roads have become safety hazards in themselves. The government should step up in securing the well-being of motorists and the riding public by upgrading and regulating the country’s road infrastructures, which have been neglected for so long,” said Escudero.

Under the bill, the DPWH is tasked with setting and defining the specifications and measurements of all national, provincial, city, municipal and barangay road and street signs, sidewalks, streetlights and other similar road infrastructures, which should be in accordance with the universally accepted designs and installations suitable to the country’s standards.

Escudero, who used to chair the Senate committee on finance, said the DPWH should have no problem with this additional mandate as it has the second largest allocation in the 2015 national budget at P290.5 billion, following the Department of Education, which has P321.1 billion.

The DPWH will also coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government in order to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations once the proposal is approved.

Any person or local government unit who would not abide by the set standards would pay a fine not exceeding P100,000, the bill further said. (MNS)