The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), in cooperation with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), distributed over 300 free “Stay Bright” reflectorized vests, #3500Lives shirts, #3500Lives booklets and Land Transportation and Traffic Code copies to cyclists plying EDSA during the morning rush hour of September 16, 2020. AAP also turned over 200 of the same road safety items to the MMDA and PNP-HPG.
AAP’s #3500 Lives Stay Bright Project, initially a program to teach schoolchildren about how being visible on the road will keep them safe, expanded to cyclists after the number of bicycle riders soared because of the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions suspending or limiting public transportation.
The Stay Bright project began at the Bulacan Elementary School in 2018 with a grant from the FIA Foundation and 3M Philippines. AAP conducted road safety classes for Grade 5 and 6 students highlighting the importance of wearing reflective fabric so that motorists can see them from afar, especially when they cross the road. The #3500Lives refers to the 3,500 people who die on the road every day worldwide, and the FIA Foundation’s global campaign to cut down that number.
At the Bulacan Elementary School, AAP gave snacks, #3500Lives campaign shirts and reflectorized zipper tags to over 300 students for their schoolbags while 60 members of the local Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association and several barangay officials, after a road safety seminar, received reflectorized vests. The drivers placed reflectorized stickers on the front, back and side of their tricycles which students use as school transportation.
By the end of 2019, with the support of Fundacion Mapfre, AAP had successfully conducted the Stay Bright road safety project with over 3,000 elementary school students and 500 community officials and tricycle drivers in Lipa City, Batangas as beneficiaries. In December 2019, AAP launched the Stay Bright project for the first time in Metro Manila, at the Mandaluyong Elementary School with Fundacion Mapfre representatives and over 600 students participating.
AAP and Fundacion Mapfre were scheduled to continue the project in 15 more schools in Batangas in 2020, but this was aborted by the series of Covid-19 lockdowns starting in mid-March.
IN main photo: Displaying samples of the safety items are (left to right) MMDA Traffic Management Division Representative Anthony Pagulayan, Department of Transportation Consultant Alberto Suansing, MMDA Traffic Operations Chief Bong Nebrija, AAP Advocacy Manager Cynthia Reyes, AAP Chief Operating Officer Mark Desales and PNP-HPG Director Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz.