I am an applicant for an overseas job in one of the recruitment agencies in Malate, Manila. I patronize the kuliglig operating in this area considering that the drivers of these improvised vehicles knew the location of these recruitment agencies. Last week, I rode a kuliglig. I needed it to bring me to the agency and while we were traveling along the road, the mobile phone of the driver rang, so he picked his phone from his pocket and answered the call. He was holding his phone with his right hand and his left hand was on the handlebar. I was worried while he was communicating with his phone while driving, because we might meet an accident along the way. My question is: Are these kuliglig drivers covered by the law on distracted driving?
Distracted driving has been defined under Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10913 as “referring to the performance by a motorist of any of the following acts in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private, which are hereby declared unlawful:
“(a) Using a mobile communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls, and other similar acts; and
(b) Using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts.”
The actuation of the kuliglig driver in using his mobile phone while driving falls exactly under the prohibited acts enumerated under Letter A of the above-mentioned provision of law. Kuliglig drivers are covered by the law on Distracted Driving (RA 10913) provided the same are operated through thoroughfares, highways and streets or under circumstances where public safety is under consideration. This finds support under Section 5 (b) of the law which states:
“Wheeled agricultural machineries such as tractors and construction equipment such as graders, rollers, backhoes, pay loaders, cranes, bulldozers, mobile concrete mixers and the like, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, habal-habal , trolleys,kuliglig , wagons, carriages, carts, sledges, chariots or the like, whether animal or human-powered, are covered by the provisions of this act as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets or under circumstances where public safety is under consideration.”
The only exemption in order for this kuliglig driver not to be covered by RA 10913 is when this mode of transportation is not driven on public thoroughfares, highways and streets and public safety is not involved.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com