Abaya changes tune, says traffic 'could be fatal'

Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2015 11:22 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2015 10:19 AM

Abaya changes tune, says traffic 'could be fatal' 1
Traffic slows along Guadalupe bridge southbound. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

'Government service not for the onion-skinned'

MANILA - Facing criticisms over Metro Manila's traffic problem, poor airport conditions, and public transportation woes, Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya said he is not disheartened.

"As a public servant, be sensitive to the people, pero huwag ka namang onion-skinned," he told reporters. "Kung madali kang manghina ang loob then the government public service is not for you."

Abaya, who presented his agency's budget to the Senate finance committee on Thursday, said plans to improve transportation in the country are underway, such as the extension and rehabilitation of train lines and upgrading of airports.

Abaya has been criticized not only for his perceived failure to tackle the country's transportation problems, but also for making unpopular comments. He once said, for instance, that heavy traffic is not fatal, but later apologized for it.

He said he is more careful now with his statements.

"I am only human. I want to express as honestly as I can," he said.

"Again, as a public servant, you must not be disheartened. You must be fair to the game. It should not distract me on my mission of serving the people."

Asked if he still thinks traffic is not fatal, Abaya replied, "No. I agree it could be fatal."

READ: Doctors warn: Heavy traffic can be fatal