(UPDATED WITH DOTR's COMMENT) Two government officials declined to participate in a challenge to commute in Metro Manila, with one of them saying he already takes public transportation. But another said he is going to join the commuting masses. Here are the big stories making the headlines on ANC today:
Descent into commuting hell
There’s a lot of anticipation and skepticism in the commute of Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo after he accepted the challenge by a militant group to take public transportation. Anakbayan challenged Panelo to commute after the presidential mouthpiece mouthed off on the public’s commuting travails. Panelo said there would be no media coverage of his commute. Then how would we know it really happened? As a condition of the endeavor, Anakbayan said Panelo should take his ride during rush hour and sans any bodyguards.
The group also challenged Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade and MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago.
Tugade passed up on the challenge, saying he already rides jeepneys, buses, and trains. He also said there is no transport crisis yet. The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in a Facebook post-reply to this news digest, said "The Secretary’s point is: He will not commute just because of a media or psyche-oriented challenge because even before the challenge was given, he has long been commuting....The only difference is that when he commutes, there is no security, no special treatment, and no media coverage."
Pialago, meantime, went after a satire site on Thursday instead.
Firing a broadside
Just as the PNP is facing a serious crisis at the top, a reshuffle of top officers occurs. The reshuffle comes just as PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde is about to retire. The PNP had also denied Albayalde had resigned in the wake of accusations he was protecting “ninja cops,” or police officers involved in recycling illegal drugs. Albayalde also fired a broadside at one of his accusers retired Gen. Renato Lacadin, saying Lacadin will have his “day in court.” Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has summoned 13 “ninja cops” in its investigation.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin denied speculations the Marcos poll protest against Vice President Robredo was being “fixed.” Bersamin said the poll protest can’t be manipulated or “cooked.” He also denied the Supreme Court was under pressure on the case and that a decision could be released next week.
Missing the target
The World Bank said the Philippines will miss its 2019 growth target. GDP is expected to grow by 5.8 percent only this year, which is below the government’s growth target of between 6 to 7 percent this year. But the country’s growth is expected to recover to 6.1 percent in 2020 and 6.2 percent in 2021.
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