MANILA - Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday challenged Department of Transportation (DOTr) officials to commute during the general community quarantine in Metro Manila as she criticized the agency's alleged lack of a clear plan for public transport.
While those with private vehicles can freely travel around the city, the commuting public is left with "very limited" choices for transport, Binay said in a statement.
"Mabuti sila't aircon ang mga sasakyan. Eh kung subukan kaya ng mga opisyal ng DOTr mag-commute mula sa kani-kanilang bahay papasok sa opisina nila? " she said.
(Good for them that they have air-conditioned vehicles. Why don't DOTr officials try to commute from their house to their offices?)
"Dapat maramdaman nila ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga commuter. They won't be able to plan well if they don't feel and understand the people's daily struggles," the senator said.
(They should feel the struggle of commuters.)
"Napaka-unfair sa commuters na yung mga private vehicles walang restrictions bumyahe. Napaka-limitado ng choices nila," she said.
(It is very unfair that private vehicles are unrestricted to travel while commuters are left with very limited choices.)
The DOTr knew that 30 percent of Metro Manila residents will return to work on June 1 and yet they only deployed trucks that offer free rides, which would force the public to violate social distancing rules, the senator said.
The limited routes for select public transport also did not consider those who need to commute to far destinations, she said.
"Di po lahat ng pupunta sa trabaho eh sa EDSA o sa Commonwealth dumadaan. Yung pagba-ban ng jeepneys sa kalsada ay unrealistic, anti-commuter at anti-worker," Binay said.
"Obviously, DOTr is favoring a certain segment of the mass transport sector, while ignoring and isolating the biggest public transport segment which the majority of the commuting public depend on," she said.
"'Di po lahat ay may kotse. Di lahat ay may motorsiklo o bisikleta. Di lahat kayang maglakad ng ilang kilometro sa gitna ng baha at ulan. Our workers and the commuting public don't deserve this kind of treatment. For the past 3 months, they've sacrificed more than enough."
(Not everybody has a car. Not everybody has motorcycles and bikes. Not everyone can walk for kilometers under the rain or wade in floods.)
Excluding jeepneys from the allowed modes of public transport is tantamount to "abandoning one of the most vulnerable sectors that move people and economy," Binay said.
"When you exclude the jeepneys from the equation, you also have abandoned 250,000 families--and their children are the ones who suffer the most," the senator said.
"Baka inaasahan pa rin natin ang private sector na umako ng pagbyahe ng mga empleyado nila?" she said.
(Maybe we still expect the public sector to shoulder the transportation of their employees?)