MANILA, Nov. 16, 2014—A Catholic priest claims recklessness, as well as the lack of discipline of many Filipino motorists cause many accidents on the country’s public roads.
While he agrees with Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), that corruption lies at the root of most freak accidents, with funds supposedly for better-quality highways often pocketed by government officials, Fr. Jerome R. Secillano adds the unruly behavior of many road users are equally to blame.
“If we are to relate prudence to ordinary motorists who happen to be Catholics, what we see are road users who do not observe traffic rules and regulations. They just load and unload passengers even in places where doing so is prohibited … Some keep driving at full-speed although the red light is already on,” the priest told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview.
“These are things we take notice of, motorists who are wanting in prudence. The lack of it, I fear, is dangerous and might cause accidents,” stressed Secilano, executive secretary of CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA).
Meanwhile, Alberto Suansing, secretary general of the non-government organization (NGO) Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership, who formerly headed the Land Transporation Office (LTO) and the Land Transporatation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), shared government agencies and private individuals alike can do much in changing the prevailing culture on road use.
Suansing thanked the CBCP for its pastoral letter on order and safety on the road.
In the document, the CBCP president emphasizes the need for the government to construct “safe and reliable highways, rid of the ‘wages of corruption’, and that maintenance be regular, thorough and continuous”.
“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?” Villegas asks.
Based on data released by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in October, there was at least one fatal road accident in Metro Manila per day in 2013.
Today, Nov.16, the Philippines will join the rest of the United Nations (UN) in holding the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. (Raymond A. Sebastián)