Duterte keeping Tugade as transportation chief

Pia Ranada

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Duterte keeping Tugade as transportation chief
'I have full trust in Tugade that he can correct the mistakes there and fix it,' says President Rodrigo Duterte amid complaints about the state of the MRT3

MANILA, Philippines – Despite public outrage over the recent Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) glitches, President Rodrigo Duterte said he won’t fire Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“I will not do that. I have full trust in Tugade that he can correct the mistakes there and fix it,” said Duterte on Tuesday, November 21, during a media interview.

The President’s reaffirmation of trust in his appointee comes after two lawmakers, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao, called for Tugade’s resignation.

Duterte said he would be “resisting” such demands.

“I woud be resisting the call or, if you want to put it in another [way], I will decline the request,” said the President.

Duterte did not give a timeframe or deadline for when he wants Tugade to end the MRT3 woes. (READ: TIMELINE: MRT3 mishaps)

He only said that such problems are normal given the complicated nature of transportation systems.

“You know, the problems, they come and go, they crop up every day, of anything, and you must also remember that, is it a cliché or is it a colloquial – Murphy’s Law. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, and it can happen every day to anybody,” said Duterte.

The President had previously defended Tugade from allegations of corruption.

Dissatisfaction of certain sectors with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has cropped up after major glitches in the MRT3. On November 16, around 140 commuters were forced to walk on railway tracks after an MRT coach got detached from the rest of the train. (READ: MRT woes: How often do they happen?)

Earlier on Tuesday, the DOTr filed a plunder complaint against former transportation officials and other Cabinet members under the Aquino administration for an allegedly anomalous contract with maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail Incorporated (BURI). – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.