Villegas: Substandard highways are results of corrupt workmanship

November 13, 2014 6:29 am 

MANILA, Nov. 12 — The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that sub-standard roads and infrastructure that resulted in freak accidents that had claimed lives are the result of “corrupt workmanship”.

“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?” said CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas in an article posted on the CBCP news website.

The statement was issued days before the “World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims” celebration on Nov. 16.

Villegas said that the government should not only construct safe and reliable highways, and that maintenance should be regular, thorough and continuous.

He expressed dismay that the country seemed to have “more enforcers looking out for traffic violators than ones on lonely stretches of highways, mountain passes, and dangerous road turns ready to render assistance to motorists in trouble”.

The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate hopes that the United Nations’ event should not only be “a time of sentimental remembrance of all who perished on our highways,” but also of firm resolve that governments, motorists, and pedestrians all share in the responsibility of keeping roads safe.

He reminded pedestrians to exercise prudence when crossing highways, and help should be always available, especially to the elderly and the mentally impaired.

Likewise, Villegas advised motorists to drive with that charity by which Christ’s disciples are to be distinguished, pleading with the public to see traffic-rules for what they are: recognition of the rights of others.

The CBCP chief noted how road-traffic victims, whether motorists, unwary pedestrians, or simple bystanders, are often referred to as accident victims given that “accident” suggests an unfortunate confluence of events about which people are generally helpless.

“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,” Villegas said. (PNA)

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