MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo urged the government not to shrug off the transportation crisis, especially in Metro Manila, saying that the first step to solving it is to acknowledge it is a major problem.
During her radio show on Sunday, October 13, Robredo and co-host Ely Saludar talked about the transport challenge that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo took on Friday, October 11. (READ: No transport crisis? Panelo gets to work after nearly 4-hour commute)
The Vice President pointed out that unlike Panelo who took the challenge only once, ordinary Filipinos go through difficult commutes every day.
Robredo also criticized Panelo for saying earlier that there is “no transportation crisis.”
“Iyong nakakalungkot lang, kapag public official iyong nagsasabi na walang krisis. Kasi kapag sinabi mong walang krisis, wala ka talagang gagawin, kasi para sa iyo walang problema…. Iyong pinakaunang paraan para may gawin, iyong pagtanggap na talagang malaki iyong problema,” Robredo continued.
(What’s saddening is when a public official says there is no crisis. Because when you say that, you won’t do anything, because for you, there’s no problem…. The first thing before taking action is to admit that there’s a major problem.)
If the government wouldn’t do so, there would be “no sense of urgency” to address the problem, the Vice President added in a mix of Filipino and English. (READ: Panelo didn’t experience real commuter struggle, netizens say)
Robredo also encouraged government officials to show compassion to Filipino commuters in coming up with traffic solutions. But what happens, the Vice President said, is that officials often act superior on the road.
“Halimbawa, sa EDSA, madalas na kami diyan mahawi…kasi ang dami na namang nagwa-wangwang ngayon. Ang sabi ko, sobrang insulto iyon, iyong wangwang, kasi parang sinasabi mo, ‘Iyong mga lakad ‘nyo hindi importante; lakad ko lang iyong importante,'” she said.
(For example, along EDSA, we’re often asked to move aside…because many use sirens. I said, using a siren is such an insult because it’s as if you’re saying, “Your trips aren’t important; mine is the only important trip.”)
“Kapag parating ganito iyong kalakaran ng government officials, talagang paano mo mararamdaman iyong bigat na dinadala ng ating mga kababayan?” she continued.
(If that’s how government officials act all the time, how would they empathize with the commuters who carry a huge burden?)
The Vice President slammed proposals that do not prioritize commuters, such as the provincial bus ban along EDSA.
“‘Di ba dapat mas bigyan mo ng puwang iyong comfort ng mga walang sasakyan, na nagko-commute every day? Kasi ito naman iyong mas marami eh, ito iyong mas dumadaan sa matinding paghihirap,” she said.
(Shouldn’t you pay more attention to the comfort of those without private cars, who commute every day? Because they’re a bigger number, they’re the ones who go through more hardships.)
Robredo said she hopes that when the transport crisis is resolved, even those with private cars would be encouraged to take public transportation. – Rappler.com