Virtual Commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and their Families, Philippines
Every year, millions of road victims are added to the current toll of over 50 million killed and hundreds of millions injured since the first road death 125 years ago in August – a disaster that continues day in and day out in all countries of the world (https://worlddayofremembrance.org/#top). It is an actual pandemic, affecting primarily our vulnerable and our young, which in addition to the trauma of injury and bereavement has also a devastating economic impact on countries, communities, and families.
The grief and distress experienced by this huge number of affected people are greater because of several reasons – such but not limited to the following; many of the victims are still young; many of the crashes could and should have been prevented, and the response of the governments and the society to injured victims, road death, and bereavement of the affected families is often inappropriate, inadequate, or unsympathetic, especially to the quality of life.
In fact, according to the data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 1.35M lives taken due to road accidents while based on the statistics in the Philippines, recorded is that 12,000 Filipinos die on the road every year. Moreover, according to the latest WHO data published in 2020 Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in the Philippines reached 13,017 or 1.93% of total deaths. The age-adjusted Death Rate which is 13.42 per 100,000 population ranks the Philippines as #109 in the world. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of road crash fatalities and injuries in the country are from the economically productive age groups ranging from 15-64 years old and a ratio of 3:1 (male to female) fatalities with the 15-49 age group being the most vulnerable. Alarmingly, in a report from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), there were 82,757 road accidents were recorded in Metro Manila alone, an average of 227 accidents per day.
The WHO also noted that the Philippines has laws regulating speed limit, mandating the use of motorcycle helmets and seatbelts, and prohibiting drunk driving, but these have not been sufficiently implemented.
In an article released by Rappler titled, “QC, Manila, Makati Record Most Road Crashes,” records from Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) show that from 2013 to 2018, the three cities in Metro Manila namely, Quezon City, Manila, and Makati, have consistently topped the list in terms of a number of roads crashes in their jurisdictions. They comprise 51% of the total 95,615 crashes (roughly 262 road crashes a day) recorded between January to December 2018 in the capital region. Data from the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) also showed that while most of the road crashes reported every year happened during day time, the crashes that end up deadly mostly occurred at night and in the early hours of the morning. Among these 3 cities, Quezon City (QC) alarmingly ranks first.
Quezon City leads the Local Government Units (LGUs) in terms of car crash incidents, comprising about 28.8% which translates to 27,529 incidents in 2015. It also has the most number of fatalities, taking 146 lives, 4,466 injured individuals, and about 22,917 damaged properties. The MMDA said that the high number of incidents in these cities can be attributed to high social and economic activities happening in the area. The metro’s major roads – EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, and Radial Road – are also located in these cities. These are alarming- we need to do something about it!
With the high number of road accidents, not just in the Philippines but all around the world, concerned government and non-government institutions in the country are committed to finding ways to lower, if not zero out, the cases. (Car Accidents in the Philippines: Causes, Facts, and Latest Statistics, www.philkotse.com)
These heart-breaking realities were recognized and felt since then gave birth to The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDoR) in 1993 founded by RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims in the United Kingdom that supports the people affected by road crashes with emotional and practical support and advocacy to give public recognition to the pain and suffering of millions of people. The day has reached more than 30 countries within the last decade and is now a global event, observed in solemn remembrance of the lives we have lost to the senseless tragedy of road crashes. The loss of a loved one to senseless violence, and the apathy of the judiciary and the government, are too much for a family to bear. Remembrance Day encourages people to share resources and offer critical support to the millions affected by this recurring, unpreventable tragedy.
The WDoR is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends, and many others who are also affected. It is also a Day-we thank the emergency services and reflects on the tremendous burden and cost of this daily continuing disaster to families, communities, and countries; thus, an event to discuss ways to avoid if not totally put a stop to it.
The WDoR 2022 puts the spotlight on “justice.” Traffic law enforcement, thorough investigation of the crime committed, criminal prosecution where appropriate, civil compensation, and most importantly, prevention of occurrences are all part of the justice system which when carried out seriously, fairly, and consistently, such a system is what road crash victims, and involved family members – whether the aggrieved or the offenders (by law-breaking or negligence) wish or hope for.
Thus, the Department of Education (DepEd) through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Youth Affairs and Special Concerns-Youth Formation Division (OASYASC-YFD) will conduct a virtual celebration of the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims with the theme, “Remember. Support. Act.” on November 20, 2022, via DepEd Tayo – Youth Formation Official Facebook Page.
This special Remembrance Day is, therefore, intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering. It has also become an important tool for the government and those who work to prevent crashes or respond to the aftermath since it offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries and the urgent need for action.
The objectives of the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims 2022 are to provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to:
• remember all people who passed away and were seriously injured on the roads;
• acknowledge the crucial work of the emergency services;
• draw attention to the generally trivial legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries; and advocate for an appropriately serious response;
• advocate for better support for road traffic victims and victim families and;
• promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries.
III. Suggested Activities
1. Brief Orientation on laws and ordinances relative to land transportation, traffic rules, and vehicular accidents in the Philippines
– provide participants with an overview of the policies, laws, or ordinances that protect them from vehicle-related incidents resulting in damage to persons and to property, or both
– orient participants with the different road symbols/ signals/ signages/ markings that they commonly encounter every day along streets
– invite well-versed and expert speakers in the field of the above-mentioned subject to share their knowledge and expertise on emergency services and to impart appropriately essential safety measures and strategies to protect people from vehicle-related incidents
2. Testimonials from the loved ones of a family member who passed away due to road accidents/from someone who experienced and survived road accidents to be shared on the internet or a site accessible to the public
– Invite a willing volunteer to share personal stories of their loved one who lost his/her life due to an unintended incident and to reminisce their most memorable moments together
– encourage them to remind the public of the importance of road safety by sharing their personal experience(s) and what they have learned from it
3. Speeches that include statements of emotional support and advocacy
4. Prayers to be offered for those killed and their bereaved families
5. Promotion of the Remembrance Day in newsletters or social media campaigns to field counterparts for an entire week leading to the actual day
6. Prayer/light vigil for victims
7. Seminars and/or workshops that may be organized, in collaboration with academic institutions and other interested partners, to present research findings or discuss any issues relating to road traffic injuries – trauma treatment, bereavement support, investigation of crashes, road risks, road safety measures, etc. Suggested topics can be, but are not limited to:
– Road Safety Strategies
– The Day after a Road Crash: How to Recover from the Experience
– Care for young road victims and bereaved siblings
8. Road documentaries and films related to road accidents and road deaths