- Lawmakers of leftist groups reminded Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo to show sincerity in taking the “commute challenge” in light of the ongoing transport crisis in the country.
- Panelo previously accepted the challenge of Anakbayan group and said that he will go to Malacañang via jeep and LRT.
- Panelo previously drew flak for telling the media that there is no transport crisis in the country.
MANILA, Philippines—Representatives of the leftist Makabayan bloc on Thursday lauded Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for taking on the “commute challenge” set by the Anakbayan, but stressed that this should serve as a “wake-up call” to the administration to give a sense of urgency on the traffic crisis in the country.
“More than a dare, this is a collective demand for the Duterte administration to hear our voices, and take action based on the perspective of commuters with focus on moving people, not vehicles,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago.
“We refuse to bear the brunt of negligence, disconnect, and corruption in the transport system. It’s time for Malacañang to take a U-turn from burdensome policies in transportation, and charge full speed ahead to building a more efficient and accessible mass transit system!,” Elago said.
For Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, the government should not just make it a “mere spectacle,” and instead spur ways in fixing the transport system, following the consecutive glitches in the railway systems and the traffic woes in the Metro Manila which have been going on for months.
“Instead of defunding and fully privatizing our mass transport systems, the Duterte administration should take over these and provide sufficient funds for the upgrade and repairs,” she added.
Meanwhile, former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said instead of doing the commute challenge on a single day, Panelo should instead try commuting at least once a month.
“If his thesis is that there is no mass transportation crisis, he should do it at least a month and only spend as much as minimum wage earners, as this add to the stress in commuting, especially when they only eat at the cheapest possible for the day,” Casilao said.
“If he is stubborn enough to take the challenge only to debunk the grievances of the Filipino commuters, he would be facing an avalance of criticism. His only graceful way of ending this is the sincere way,” he said.
On Wednesday, Anakbayan laid down rules for Panelo to use the country’s transport system after the Presidential spokesperson denied that there is a transport crisis in the country.
Panelo then agreed to do the challenge, saying that he will ride the LRT and jeepney in going to Malacañang.