MANILA — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano rejected Wednesday a proposal for top public officials to take the public transportation and experience crippling traffic in Metro Manila.
"The people who made the challenge have made their point. We hear you loud and clear. Now is the time to act and stop na itong mga challenge, challenge," he told reporters at the New Clark City sports complex in Capas, Tarlac, a key venue of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.
"Hindi naman puwedeng araw-araw, we just keep challenging each other sa traffic lang because we also have to challenge each other sa agriculture di ba. We have to challenge each other sa health. We have to challenge each other sa education...But ang point is 'yung mga plano nakalatag," he added.
(We cannot keep challenging each other about traffic every day. We also have to challenge each other on agriculture, health and education, right? The point is - plans are already in place.)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo last week accepted the challenge of activist groups to commute to work. He rode jeepneys and hitchhiked on a motorcycle in his 4-hour sojourn from Marikina to Malacañang.
Instead of taking the commute challenge, Cayetano said rural areas should get higher revenue shares to discourage residents from flocking to Metro Manila and adding to the already crippling traffic.
He said a bigger Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) will allow rural governments to build better schools and hospitals, and give residents allowances and birthday gifts like those offered in urban areas.
"We really have to have a more balanced plan at may plano rin ang Kongreso d'yan," he said. "Hindi naman ata tama na mag-aagawan ng pondo ang buong bansa pero yung poorest of the poor, naiiwanan," he said.
(It's not right the the whole country is fighting for funds but the poorest of the poor are left behind.)
With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News