Tugade game for commuting ‘challenge’: I have been doing it anyway
MANILA, Philippines— Like presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday accepted a challenge by activist groups to take public transportation.
“I can demonstrate my empathy without accepting challenge that are basically media-oriented or psyche challenge. I will accept the challenge and I will do it on my own time which I have been doing anyway,” Tugade said.
He made the declaration after activist groups challenged government officials to try public transportation for a week amid the transport woes being experienced by commuters in Metro Manila. Thousands of commuters have had to adjust to partial operations on Light Rail Transit Line 2, three stations of which are offline due to fire damage.
Earlier, Panelo denied that there is a transportation crisis prompting various sectors to challenge officials to experience commuters’ woes first-hand.
The transport chief, likewise, shared the same sentiment with Panelo saying that having transportation issues should not be considered a transportation crisis.
‘I take trains, buses, jeepneys’
Tugade claimed he has been commuting regularly, only without publicity.
“Ang assumption parang hindi ako sumasakay ng tren, ng P2P bus saka jeepney. Sumasakay po ako para testingin yung mga proseso at mga kalagayan,” Tugade said.
(The assumption is I don’t take the train, P2P bus and jeepney. I ride those to check the process and situation)
Ang diperensiya lang pag ako sumakay hindi ko ho ina-anunsyo. ‘Pag ako sumakay, wala ho akong kasamang media. Sumasakay lang ako ng personal. Minsan kasama ko ‘yung anak ko, ‘yung apo ko minsan ‘yung staff ko,” he said.
(The difference is if I commute I don’t announce it. If I commute, I don’t have any media with me. I just commute personally. Sometimes I’m with my child, sometimes with my grand child)
“Minsan nga Holy week yata ‘yun wala kaming tinatantanan kundi sakyan yung MRT train na nagkakandasira. Hindi namin binanderya, hindi namin ibinidyo, hindi naming minedia. Nagtrabaho lang po kami,” he furthered.
(Sometimes, I think that’s Holy Week. We did not stop and rode the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) train which always breaks down. We did not proclaim it, we did not video, we did not publicized to the media. We just worked)
During Holy Week, the Philippine train systems including the LRT, MRT and Philippine National Railways temporarily halt operations for its annual maintenance works. The trains usually operate until Holy Wednesday only.
Aside from Panelo and Tugade, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also expressed willingness to join the commute challenge.