MANILA, Philippines – The spokespersons of President Benigno Aquino III took on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Rush Hour Challenge, a campaign by the public to get government officials to experience their daily commute during rush hour in a bid to improve it. (READ: Timeline: MRT3 mishaps)
On Monday, September 1, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte posted photos of her ride on her Twitter account, including falling in line to wait for her turn. Valte said the entire experience from lining up to arriving at her destination took about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
“Took the MRT Rush Hour Challenge today at 8:42am: North-Taft, LRT1 Taft to Central. Able to get a seat at Ayala stop, ” she tweeted in one of 3 parts.
“Lined up at 824am, able to ride at 901am, got off at Taft by 941am. Appreciate all the commuters who bear w/ the service on a daily basis… we continue to ask for your understanding as we continue to push for improvements.”
Seen in one of the photos with her was Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
In the Philippines, it’s very rare for public officials to take public transportation regularly. After a train derailed and injured 36 people in early August, however, public outcry against the MRT’s poor service increased, as did calls for public officials to commute.
Since then, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya took the MRT but drew flak for riding the train during off-peak hours and coming with staff members, security personnel, and media.
A day later, Senator Grace Poe took the same train unassisted and unannounced at rush hour a few days before chairing a Senate hearing on the MRT3 derailing incident. Her decision was met with more positive sentiments from netizens. – Rappler.com
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