Monday, December 13, 2010

Biogesic & the Private-Public Coalition launch “Ingat Nation” advocacy campaign

There is a growing number of road accidents being reported everyday. We wonder, what has happened to our drivers these days? Are they really prone to accidents or they just neglect their duties and responsibilities  on their passengers' safety? This is alarming that needs our attention.

Statistics from the PNP-Highway Patrol Group revealed that there were over 20,008 road accidents reported in 2009. This means that there are around 50 road accidents that occur in the Philippines on a daily basis. As we speak, 2 vehicles have probably gotten into an accident during the past hour.

With 78% of total daily person trips depending on buses, jeepneys taxis, tricycles, trains and padyaks, it’s no exaggeration to say that a large portion of the Philippines would literally stop if public transport were to halt their operations. Almost everyone use public transport to go to work or school, or do daily errands.

“It’s trusting the drivers to get us to our destinations on time; it’s trusting them to have checked and fine-tuned their vehicles; it’s trusting them to follow road signs-- it’s trusting them with our lives, says  Eros Zuniga, National President of Safety Organization of the Philippines Inc. (SOPI).

DOTC studies show that 80% of road accidents in the country are caused by human error

This advocacy campaign of Biogesic and the different government agencies, hosted by broadcaster Cherrie Mercado, was launched on October 11, 2010 at Fiamma bar in Makati City.

An Installation Art/ Tableau

The Human Error 
Human error is defined as the imbalance between what the situation requires, what the situation intends and what a person does.

Human error happens when people:
-    Do the wrong thing for a given situation (i.e., violating traffic rules)
-    Fail to do anything when action is required (i.e., forgetting to have a spare tire)
-    Plan to do the right thing but with the wrong outcome (i.e., making an accidental wrong turn) 

 Biogesic endorser John Lloyd Cruz giving his recorded message

Based on DOTC estimates, road accidents may cost the Philippines around Php 235 billion or a 2.8 percent share in the country’s GDP—millions that could have otherwise gone to building schools, hospitals, or other, similarly crucial government projects. And that’s just the economic cost. The Asian Development Bank adds to this by saying that a fatal accident can lead to “the loss of productive life of the victim; pain, grief and suffering of loved ones.”

With the realization of how the element of human error played a big role in the day-to-day lives of Filipinos, the public-private coalition Ingat Pilipinas was formed. 

Composed of the PNP-HPG (Highway Patrol Group), MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority), the Department of Labor and Employment and its sub-agencies the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), from the public sector and SOPI (Safety Organization of the Philippines) and leading headache relief brand, Biogesic, from the private sector, Ingat Pilipinas is working to reinforce the values of safety consciousness and effectiveness among Filipinos and in the country as a whole. 

Hari ng Kalsada
"Jeepneys are a public necessity as much as they are a cultural symbol,” notes MMDA Engr. Emilio Llabor. Jeepneys cannot be taken away from our roads, even if there was a plan in 1996 to eradicate all jeepneys because as others have claimed, they cause heavy traffic. It is obvious that jeepneys are not the cause of terrible traffic especially in Metro Manila, but the wrong and undisciplined road system.

Recent research shows that of the overall motorized trips within Metro Manila, the busiest city in the Philippines in terms of public transport, 41% were taken on jeepneys. Meanwhile, 19% of trips were on tricycles, 13% on buses, and 5% on taxis. In absolute terms, jeepneys are the main mode of public transport with over 9 million linked trips on an average day.

A  2010 survey of the most popular modes of transport in Metro Manila revealed that the major factors that contribute to accidents can all be classified under human error:
  • 64% of drivers identified vehicle malfunction traceable to neglect or “pagpapabaya sa sasakyan”; 
  • 44% cited overspeeding or “pagpapatakbo ng sasakyan ng mabilis na hindi alinsunod sa speed limit”; 
  • 23% mentioned overloading or “sadyang pagsobra sa pagsakay ng pasahero o kagamitan”; 
  • and 23% said breaking traffic rules or “hindi pagsunod sa batas trapiko."

There are also other factors that need to be considered why road accidents happen. 85% of respondents agree that not feeling well or “masama ang pakiramdam” makes driving more challenging. Drivers identified headaches, fever, and body pain as the most common maladies.

Headaches & Body Pains
“It’s unfortunate how many of the factors that result in accidents—overspeeding, engine failure, violation of traffic signs, and ‘sama ng pakiramdam’– could have all been otherwise avoided,” asserts Joey Romana of Biogesic.

“A quick engine check or simply being more aware of the speed at which the vehicle was being operated could have given them a safer trip.”  

This lack of consciousness about safety is readily seen in how drivers perceive and treat “headaches.” 77% of those surveyed continued to drive even if they had a headache—this means that they continue driving even if they’re not at their optimal condition. 

Dr. Gerald C. Vilela, Clinician of Unilab-Biogesic says that this is a concern because headaches or the common “sakit ng ulo” leads drivers to commit what’s known as perceptual misjudgment. Perceptual misjudgments are instances when drivers fail to notice critical information, such as road signs or speed limits, because their mental resources are focused elsewhere. In this case, drivers get too distracted by their headaches (and the pain these bring) to focus on their driving. 

In describing how headaches affected their driving, some drivers mentioned, “nawawalan ng concentration,” “nagiging mainitin ang ulo,” or “nawawala sa mood” as a result of their affliction.  More than the mood changes however, there were drivers whose quality of driving was affected by headaches. Some shared, “hindi na ako nakakadiskarte ng maayos sa pagda-drive,” “nawawala sa wisyo, nawawala sa ayos ang pagddrive,” “nagro-wrong turn na,” and “nagugulo ang pagmamaneho.” Meanwhile, others who did not want to risk these things opted to go home even if, in their words, “nawawalan kami ng kita.”

“Practicing safety on the road can’t be overemphasized,” Col. Edwin Butacan of PNP – Highway Patrol Group. In the case of all public utility vehicle drivers, they’re not only responsible for their personal safety, but also for that of their passengers as well. For instance, an average jeep has around 20 passengers at any one time —and this translates into 20 different people putting their safety—and lives–in the hands of the driver.”

Drivers are Safety Lovers
Ingat Pilipinas recognizes that human error, and how it manifests on the road, is a big problem— with different facets and different stakeholders who need to start working on them.

Taking inspiration from the popular Biogesic tagline “Ingat,” Ingat Pilipinas believes that at the heart of human error is a disregard for safety, which is why raising awareness, ensuring personal commitment, and rolling out programs on safety are integral pillars of the advocacy.  “It’s a fact that 80 percent of accidents are caused by human error, but we shouldn’t forget that this also means that 80% of all accidents could have been, could be, and should be prevented. Kailangan lang talaga ng ibayong pag-iingat,” says Joey Romana of Biogesic.

With this, the first phase of Ingat Pilipinas will be focused on improving road safety in the public transportation sector. 

Working specifically with the PNP-Highway Patrol Group, Ingat Pilipinas will be distributing “Ingat Kits” – a packet that contains headache management tips and a safety first-aid kit—to PNP-HPG Patrollers. Meanwhile, together with SOPI, Ingat Pilipinas will be spearheading seminars about workplace safety. In the coming months, more projects will be undertaken by Ingat Pilipinas with coalition members specifically MMDA and DoLE. 

Simultaneous with these projects, Ingat Pilipinas will also be rallying more organizations and individuals to join their cause for a safer and more effective Philippines. With this everyone is encouraged to sign up and be counted in the online portal of Ingat Pilipinas,

“It’s time that we go beyond saying “Ingat,” it’s time we work together and actually do something to make our roads, workplaces, and eventually even the whole country itself, safer and more effective—starting with ourselves. Our decision to be safety-conscious can make a big difference,” say the coalition members of Ingat Pilipinas.

To find out which companies and individuals have taken the challenge for a safer and more effective Philippines, log on to The Biggest Public Pledge event, showing a commitment to a safer and more effective Philippines, was held also on November 27, 2010 (Saturday) at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

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