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Who do we blame?

Batas Mauricio

THIS is what I wrote years ago, which I am reprinting now on account of the Nueva Vizcaya road accident:

Why are there so many road accidents happening around us today, killing scores and scores of passengers and even mere innocent by-standers?  The simple reason is that our congressmen and senators and all our previous presidents were remiss in their performance of their duty as protectors of the people.

You see, in all the years that they have been in power, they talked almost about everything, but they did not see it fit to amend, modify or revise the country’s archaic laws on road accidents which do not have any capacity to send to prison any erring driver.

I am sure all of them knew that under current laws, a driver found responsible for the death of one person–or even a hundred–will be sentenced to only four years of imprisonment, which means he need not be detained because of probation. Why then did not our lawmakers and presidents do anything about this?

I do not want to engage in finger-pointing now, but I certainly blame both the Land Transporation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and say they are greatly responsible for the death of more people from road accidents.

Why? Well, it is quite clear that the LTO and the LTFRB are completely remiss in their duties to see to it that only the psychologically and mentally prepared are issued driver’s licenses and allowed to drive public utility vehicles.

As things stand in both the LTO and the LTFRB now, anyone who can pay are able to get licenses, and then drive away. This is reprehensible because both the LTO and the LTFRB ought to know, if only they are properly doing their work, that many holders of driver’s licenses are not fit to drive, psychologically and mentally, as shown by their totally reckless driving, rude behavior, and, many a time, gross ignorance of even the most basic rules of road courtesy.

Equally deserving of our anger should be our lawmakers–congressmen and senators–who, because of their insatiable greed for pork barrel and personal aggrandizement and benefits, have not given even a second of their lives to conduct a much-needed re-study and improvement of our current land transportation and traffic laws, and even the law that covers road accidents.

Up to now, because of this lack of desire on the part of these lawmakers to update the antiquated laws on land transportation, traffic, and road accidents (which impose a measly penalty of only four-year imprisonment if a driver kills one or one hundred passengers or pedestrians while driving, which penalty will not even send the driver to prison), devilish and deadly driving among Filipinos persist.

Then, we must also blame all the Presidents that have ruled this country for all these deaths, because, like the LTO and the LTFRB and our lawmakers, they did not take time out, despite their powerful positions, to improve our laws on road driving and accidents. Each and every death on the road and each and every drop of blood from road accidents are therefore on the hands of all these officials.
E-mail: batasmauricio@yahoo.com

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