MANILA (DWDD) – Sen. Grace Poe said she has scheduled a public hearing next week to review the rules released by the government and address confusions in the implementation of Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act that prohibits distracted driving by penalizing the use of communication devices and other electronic entertainment and computing gadgets while driving on roads.
Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, said she has decided to convene a hearing on May 30 after several senators called for the temporary suspension of the law’s full implementation amid the seeming expansion of the law and until after several issues raised by motorists–specifically on what items are prohibited while driving, among others–have been addressed.
“Paglabas ng regulasyon parang lumabis ito sa nasasaad sa batas. Nandoon na tayo na dapat ligtas pero hindi pwedeng sumobra sa kung ano ang pinapayagan ng batas,” said Poe, adding that there have been “numerous complaints” as to the real intent of the law that was passed during the previous Congress.
Poe said Transport officials’ latest pronouncements are open to several interpretations that not only confuse motorists but may open opportunities for extortion by unscrupulous enforcers.
To address confusions, Poe said the Transportation department may revise the implementing rules and regulations (IRR). “Ang intent ng batas ang mas mahalaga. Kami na nagbalangkas ng batas na yan ang magsasabi kung nagmalabis kayo o hindi… Ang hindi pwede gawin ng isang ahensya ay mag-imbento ng mga regulasyon sa pagpapatupad na hindi naman talaga binibigyan ng awtorisasyon ng mismong batas na naipasa sa Kongreso.”
“May mga bagay na kailangang linawin natin sa pagdinig kasi hindi naman tayo pwedeng magbigay ng regulasyon na mahirap ipatupad at pangalawa kung ipinatupad man ayaw naman natin itong maging sanhi ng pangongotong,” Poe added.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Monday called on the Senate public services committee to “exercise its oversight functions” in reviewing the law’s enforcement, saying the implementing agencies may have crossed the line as the original intent of the law was to prohibit the use of electronic gadgets while driving. Sotto’s speech was referred to Poe’s committee.
Several senators also called for the suspension of its implementation.
The now controversial law lapsed on July 21, 2016 and its IRR were released on just last April 4. The full enforcement of the law took effect last May 18.
Under RA 10913, prohibited acts while driving include using a mobile communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication, or to make or receive calls and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculation and other similar acts.
Violators will be penalized with a fine of P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver’s license. Violations incurred beyond the third offense shall be penalized with the revocation of driver’s license and a fine of P20,000.
Under Section 7 of the law, a nationwide public information campaign shall be conducted by the Transportation department, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police and private agencies for six months from the effectivity of the law.
On its first day of implementation, 127 motorists were apprehended. SENATE / MCAG