The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has scored the government for “corrupt workmanship,” citing the construction of sub-standard roads and other infrastructure that result in unnecessary deaths.
“Is it not a fact that many road-traffic victims lose life or limb because of ill-constructed roads and highways, the pathetic handiwork of corrupt workmanship? Have not many drivers fallen off cliffs, ridges and road shoulders because of inadequate road signs, ill-lighted highways and the criminal absence of assistance that should come from government functionaries tasked with road safety?” CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Wednesday asked in a statement.
Villegas called on the government to build safe and reliable highways, get rid of “wages of corruption” and sustain maintenance of all infrastructure.
His statement came days before the United Nations’ observance of “World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims” on November 16.
He said the event should not only be “a time of sentimental remembrance” of all who died on highways, but also of firm resolve that governments, motorists and pedestrians all share in the responsibility of keeping the roads safe.
Villegas noted that the country has even “more enforcers looking out for traffic violators than [those who should be deployed to]lonely stretches of highways, mountain passes and dangerous road turns ready to render assistance to motorists in trouble.”
He reminded the pedestrians to exercise prudence when crossing highways.
Villegas said “help” should be always available, especially to the elderly and the mentally impaired.
“The truth of the matter, though, is that most of the time, road-traffic victims suffer because of lack of prudence and a failure of simple providence, the egregious violation of traffic rules [such as those that limit driving speeds]and conduct that is not only criminally actionable but morally reprehensible, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” the archbishop added.
“If we ask God to make all things work for the well-being of those who use our highways, we also ask God to instil responsibility, prudence and above all charity in all motorists, because motorists are, in fact, the biggest threat on the highways,” he said.
“If this be our resolve on this day of remembrance, then the words of the rite of blessing will indeed come true: ‘In every place, stay close to your servants who trust in You, and wherever they go, be their leader and their companion.”