MANILA - Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained his position Friday that there was no mass transport crisis plaguing Filipino commuters, even after it took him 4 hours to get to work in Malacañang from his home in Marikina City.
Despite the flak he received from left-leaning groups and some commuters, the Palace spokesman stood by his position that what travelers are facing is a traffic problem and not a paralysis of public transportation.
“Mayroong traffic crisis pero hindi transportation crisis kasi when you say transportation crisis wala ka ng sinasakyan, paralyzed ang buong traffic,” he told reporters.
(There is a traffic crisis but not a transportation crisis because when you say transportation crisis, it means you cannot get a ride anymore and that the whole traffic is paralyzed.)
Panelo on early Friday morning rode 4 jeepneys and hitched a motorcycle ride to Malacañang as he took on a challenge by militant groups to take public transportation.
“Kaya ko lang tinanggap yung hamon kasi nga parang pinapalabas nila na kaming mga nasa puwesto ngayon hindi naming kaya gawin yun. Pinasinungalingan ko lang sila,” he said.
(I only accepted the challenge because they are trying to make it appear that we can’t do it. I only belied their claims.)
The Duterte spokesman insisted that going through a commute challenge is unnecessary since he is already aware of the traffic problem, noting that he cannot be “oblivious” to daily commuter woes.
“You don’t even have to go through that, we know that. You know why? Kahit nasa kotse ka nakikita mo yan eh (you can see that even from inside a vehicle),” he said.
“You don’t even have to feel pain when you see pain there,” he added.
ON TELLING COMMUTERS TO WAKE UP EARLY
Panelo also clarified that he only meant to praise the “creativity” of Filipino commuters when he told them to wake up early to arrive at their destination on time.
“We’re a very creative people. We have a hostile environment but we don’t just sit down and wallow in misery. We do something about it,” he said.
“That is not insensitive. That is in fact a statement praising the creativity of Filipinos,” he added.
He however clarified that Filipinos cannot rely on their creativity alone in addressing the traffic crisis.
“It cannot be permanent. It cannot be constant, we have to change that,” he said.