DOTr: Nothing political with opening Malasakit Help Desks

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) opened help desks on Tuesday, January 29, at bus terminals, seaports, and airports across the country.

The DOTr branded these as Malasakit Help Desks, a name similar to the pet project of government official-turned-senatorial candidate Bong Go, the Malasakit Center.

In response to a question by Rappler, the DOTr Communications Office said that the word malasakit (concern) coincidentally "captures" what kind of service the agency wants to deliver to passengers.

"DOTr officials and employees will not engage in the volley of politicking this election season. We remain focused on the goal of delivering transport infrastructure and programs to the Filipino people as fast as possible and as well as we can. That's enough to keep us busy," the DOTr said in a statement.

The agency maintained that setting up the help desks "has nothing to do with politics."

"While we cannot deter conjectures on the branding of Malasakit, the DOTr maintains that the establishment of [the help desks] has nothing to do with politics," the DOTr said.

AIRPORT. The Department of Transportation sets up a Malasakit Help Desk at NAIA Terminal 2, along with 28 other commercial airports. Photo from DOTr

AIRPORT. The Department of Transportation sets up a Malasakit Help Desk at NAIA Terminal 2, along with 28 other commercial airports.

Photo from DOTr

ACROSS THE COUNTRY. The Department of Transportation says all major transportation hubs in the Philippines will have a Malasakit Help Desk. Photo from DOTr

ACROSS THE COUNTRY. The Department of Transportation says all major transportation hubs in the Philippines will have a Malasakit Help Desk.

Photo from DOTr

There are a total of 120 help desks across the Philippines. These were put up in terminals with high passenger traffic such as the Araneta Center Bus Terminal, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 stations, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The DOTr said all major transportation hubs will have a Malasakit Help Desk by the end of January.

On January 23, the DOTr also held the 3rd Tricycle Operators and Drivers' Association Summit – a first in 10 years – where President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his endorsement of Go's senatorial bid– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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