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Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa emphasized the need for a collaborative effort and strengthened inter-agency initiatives to improve road safety as the agency spearheaded the “Biyaheng Kalusugan: Road Safety Month celebration with the theme “Idol sa Kalsada: Walk, Bike, and Ride for Road Safety for a Bagong Pilipinas!” held in San Juan, La Union on May 23–24, 2024. 

Secretary Herbosa said that existing road safety initiatives should align with the five (5) pillars of road safety: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response. “These pillars aim to enhance access to pre-hospital care, trauma care, and rehabilitation for road crash victims,” he stated. 

Department of Health Assistant Secretary Mylene Beltran  and Ilocos Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco together with San Juan Vice Mayor Manuel Victor R. Ortega, Jr. cuts the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of the services booths set-up by various partner agencies during the “Biyaheng Kalusugan: Road Safety Month celebration held in San Juan, La Union on May 23–24, 2024.

“Ensuring road safety requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society. Through this event,

we will bring together various stakeholders to build a culture of safety and awareness, ultimately saving lives and promoting a healthier, safer Bagong Pilipinas, kung saan Bawat Buhay Mahalaga,” expressed Health Secretary Herbosa.

The two-day event, which was in collaboration with partner agencies and organizations in the Ilocos region, pushed for a safer road system for bikers, cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters. 

Among the activities conducted were motorcade, hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training for drivers, interactive seminars, and dissemination of information education and communication materials. 

Participating agencies also set up booths and provide frontline and consultation services centered on promoting road safety and raising awareness on its health impact, targeting over 100 tricycle operators and drivers’ associations, various cyclists and riders’ organizations, and high school students in San Juan, La Union. 

Ilocos Center for Health Development Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco said that the

event was held in the province of La Union as it has the highest number of vehicular traffic incidents (VTIs) recorded in the region second to Pangasinan. 

According to the Philippine National Police – Region 1 Office, a total of 311 VTIs were recorded from January 1, 2024 to May 17, 2024 with motorcycles having the highest number of casualties at 188 followed by sedan with 100 and trucks with 64. 

“The greatest gains in road safety happen when all agencies work together and focus on a collaborative effort in advancing road safety initiatives. And safer roads can be achieved by sustaining health promotion and the protection of active transport,” Sydiongco emphasized.