MANILA -- Requiring high-ranking public officials to take public transportation at least once a week can help reduce the volume of private vehicles on traffic-choked roads, a lawmaker said Saturday.
Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao said he would soon file a bill mandating elected officials, cabinet members and division chiefs to take tricycles, jeepneys, buses and trains on Mondays.
When taking public transport, public officials "will be reminded weekly of the suffering the masses endure on a consistent basis," Siao said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman and chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, on Friday commuted 4 hours to the presidential palace, taking up a dare from left-wing groups to disprove their claim that the country was mired in a "transport crisis."
Traffic authorities in recent months have strictly enforced existing and new regulations along EDSA, including limiting buses to the rightmost lanes and banning buses from the provinces from dropping off and picking up passengers in areas outside their terminals.
Traffic jams result in P3.5 billion in daily losses to the Philippine economy, according to a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Gridlocks have been aggravated by train breakdowns, most recently at the LRT-2, which stretches from Pasig City to downtown Manila. It has been on limited operations since a fire in early October.