MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s commute to Malacañan Palace just “trivialized” the riding public’s suffering if the government fails to empathize and look for long-term solutions, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato Reyes said Friday.
READ: Metro Manila now suffering a mass transport crisis — Bayan
Reyes said the point of the dare was to “call attention to the worsening situation of the mass transport system,” find solutions, and spark conversations that would lead to concrete actions by the government.
“(But) unless there’s a long-term solution, unless there’s more empathy towards commuters, parang ano lang ‘to eh (it would be like), parang wala lang (it would be like nothing), mati-trivialize ‘yung problema (the problem will only be trivialized). ‘Wag sanang ganun (I hope that would not be the case),” the progressive leader said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s “Headstart.”
Panelo accepted militant youth group Anakbayan’s “commute challenge,” after he drew flak for denying the “mass transport crisis” gripping Metro Manila. It took him around four hours – changing jeepney-rides four times – before arriving at one of the gates of the Malacañang complex on Friday.
READ: Panelo tells public to ‘be creative’ as he rides jeepney to Malacañang
Meanwhile, in the same television interview, Edsa Special Traffic and Transport Zone Head Edison “Bong” Nebrija said the government has infrastructure plans in place to solve the capital region’s traffic woes.
In a budget briefing at the House of Representatives in September, Transportation Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman said almost 99 percent of the P108-billion proposed infrastructure projects of the Department of Transportation for 2020 would go to the railway sector.
De Guzman said some P106.7 billion was earmarked for railways under their proposed 2020 budget, while another P346.5 million was set for the aviation sector, P507.5 million for the maritime sector, P101 million for the road sector, and P360.6 million for infrastructure preparation and innovation facility.
Among the projects that would be funded by the P106.7 billion are the North-South Commuter railway system, Metro Manila subway project phase 1, LRT line 1 Cavite extension, Mindanao railway project, PNR South long haul project, and the MRT rehabilitation project.
READ: DOTr: Bulk of 2020 infra fund to go to railway sector
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