By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Land Transportation Office (LTO) Director Clarence Guinto apologized on Monday after his “inappropriate” comment as he gave a suggestion to families with taller children to use bigger vehicles to comply with Republic Act No. 11229 or Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.

Guinto’s remark quickly received fierce criticisms online, calling it “insensitive.”

“I am sorry for the confusion I have caused with my remark, which was made in jest. I realize now that it was inappropriate,” Guinto said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

“To clarify, if the child is above 4’11”, the child is exempted from using a child car seat under the law and may be secured using the regular seat belt,” he added.

In an interview over DZMM TeleRadyo, Guinto was sought for a comment about what to do if a vehicle has limited spaces and raised concerns of safety among children who are required to use booster.

He responded by saying: “Siguro ma’am laki-lakihan mo ang sasakyan mo. We will take note of that.”

The law, which will take effect on February 2, prohibits children with age of 12 years old and below to take a seat in front of the vehicle. They are also required to be secured in a car seat appropriate to age, size, height, and weight.

Violators will face a fine of P1,000 to P5,000. If the violator will reach third and succeeding offenses, it may be punished with one year suspension of driver’s license.

LTO, however, said they will start ticketing three to six months from today.

“For other questions about Republic Act No. 11229, you may get in touch with LTO spokesperson, Mr. Roberto Valera,” Guinto noted.

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