MORE than two years and 45 events later, Volkswagen Philippines continues its Child Safety Initiative program to promote road safety among youngsters.
For the third time, the company’s corporate social responsibility project went back to the Southern Metro and recently held the event at Robinsons Place mall in Las Piñas City. Launched back in 2015, the project aims to raise public awareness for children’s road safety both as a pedestrian and as a passenger.
Currently, the Child Safety Initiative program is in collaboration with the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership (PGRSP) and Samsung, as its respective institutional and technology affiliates. Every month, Volkswagen Philippines is committed to holding the project event to a mall or school within the Metro. In fact, the activity has already reached the province of Pampanga previously.
Two courses are in place for the program designed for specific age brackets. One is the Junior Driving Course for children ages 4 to 8 years old to learn about basic road safety. During a brief seminar, a professional instructor conducts a session, utilizing a simulated road network complete with road signs, road markings and a traffic light. Once completed, a junior driver’s license is then issued to the participating kids. Another session is the steps to safety module for older children ages 9 to 12 years old to teach pedestrian safety. Here, virtual-reality game application and gadgets are being utilized in aid of immersing the young participants to the road environment. Once passed, the children will be awarded with the badge of safety.
Present during the activity was former Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief and PGRSP Secretary-General Eng. Alberto Suansing. He committed himself as one of the instructors conducting sessions for the Junior Driving Course. When asked about his technique in doing presentations to kids, Suansing actually find teaching children less challenging yet more enjoyable. “By teaching them young, we can hone their attitude and understanding correctly. Now, when it comes to the actual presentation approach, you have to be like one of them. I’ve learned that technique from my parents that, if you want children to learn more and be as effective, you should act like them—to be able to better deliver the message and for them to understand,” he explained. Also, Suansing pointed out that by doing a brief and straight to the point lectures, the child’s ability to grasp and retain limited amount of information are being addressed properly. “More important, there should be an activity to engage them,” he added.
Suansing’s involvement in the program started about three years ago, when Volkswagen Philippines approached him to develop a program involving children and to introduce them to road safety. “Our focus then was for children, in order for them to know what are the rules and at the same time parents. Since children are considered to be good in remembering good information, they would be able to remind their parents on following basic traffic rules which adults tend to neglect,” he shared.
The transportation expert also believes that the country still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to parents teaching their children on road safety. “Most especially to the area where there are significant population of informal settlers. We can see how they neglect nor allow their kids to just roam around the streets without supervision,” he said. “In my previous presentations, some parents even confided to me and were thankful that there is this kind of program. Because even as a parent is not capable to teach their kids regarding road-safety,” he added.
As a primary road-safety advocate, Suansing is committed to the program for as long as it’s ongoing. “It’s worthwhile for parents to be able to introduce road safety and be present with their kids, especially during the children’s age of discernment to know what is dangerous or not,” he concluded.