Transport chief declines 'public transport challenge,' says there's no crisis yet

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2019 03:42 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2019 03:43 PM

MANILA - Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday declined the challenge posed by youth group AnakBayan to use public transportation to feel commuters' pain, as he insisted that there is no transport crisis. 

Tugade said on Thursday said he rides public transport but doesn’t announce it to the media. 

“I can demonstrate my empathy without accepting challenges that are basically media-oriented or psyche-oriented. I will accept the challenge and will do it in my own time, which I have been doing anyway," Tugade said. 

He also insisted that despite the transport problems in Metro Manila, there is no transport crisis.

"Komo ba meron transport problem, may transport issue, meron nang transport krisis? Hindi pa ho dumadaan sa ganiyan yan. Kasama yan sa exacerbating the situation. Dapat pag nag-exacerbate ka ng situation. Magtulungan po tayo. Huwag kalimutan na tayo may ambag sa problema.”

(Just because there's a transport problem, a transport issue, there's already a transport crisis? We have not gone that way yet. That exacerbates the situation. Let's help each other. Let's not forget that we add to the problem.)

He also said he doesn't get treated like a VIP whenever he uses public transportation. 

"Kapag sumasakay ako, nakasumbrero akong nakababa na hindi mo makikita na ako 'yon, na hindi mo makikita yung mukha ko. Nakapila rin ho ako. Ako ho na Kalihim na ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon, wala naman akong wangwang, wala naman akong back-up," Tugade said.

(When I ride, I wear a hat that covers my face. I also line up. I, the Secretary of Transportation, don't use sirens or backup vehicles.)

Tugade said he also experiences the traffic jams that the public complains about.

"Iyong nasusubukan ninyo hong trapiko, nasusubukan ko rin ho iyon. Kasi kung hindi ko susubukan, tama sila, paano tayo makaka-plano at makaka-diskarte? Ang dating ho para bang nasa air conditioned room lang ho kami. Hindi naman ganun 'yun.”

(The traffic that you experience, I also experience it. Because if I don't experience it, they are right, how can we plan and do our work? It's not like we're just in an airconditioned room. It's not like that.)

Tugade also asked those who have taken photos with him when he rode the train or jeep to show the pictures.

Tugade said he also observed that commuters lack discipline. 

“There are problems from rails to coaches to signaling. There are problems in terms of discipline," he said of Metro Manila's train systems.