Palace blames previous admins for "vexing" daily commute in Metro Manila
Malacañang said on Wednesday it is aware of the "vexing" daily commute but it blamed the two previous administrations for the present traffic woes and inadequate mass transit system in Metro Manila.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo acknowledged that his statement on Tuesday there was no mass transport crisis in the metropolis became a subject of ridicule and hate by the President Rodrigo Duterte's usual critics and detractors.
"Just because I disagree with the leftist organization’s theory on the existence of a mass transport crisis does not mean that I am unaware of the vexing daily commute, as well as the burden caused by the worsening traffic conditions in Manila," he said.
He said the current traffic woes and inadequate mass transit system have been the bane of the people, more specifically those living and working in Metro Manila.
"These perennial problems are a carry over of two previous administrations, and inherited by the present one," said Panelo, also the presidential legal counsel.
Panelo was referring to the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and succeeded by former President Benigno Aquino III.
Panelo said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to address the problems immediately but "Congress opted not to grant the President the emergency powers he asked from it at the inception of his presidency to solve it."
Some lawmakers, such as Senator Grace Poe, have opposed the granting of emergency powers to Duterte for concerns among others that it could be abused. According to oppositors, traffic could be addressed even without the emergency powers to be granted to the President.
"Had the critics and the nitpickers read the transcript of my remarks in the press briefing yesterday, they would have readily understood that when I said there is no mass transit crisis, I meant there is no mass transit crisis simply because there is no mass transit paralysis. Even the recent nationwide transport strike failed in paralyzing the mass transport," Panelo explained.
He said the present problems in the mass transit system - the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 and the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 - are the "products of many years of neglect by the previous administrations."
He said the government, however, considers the problems as "solvable," and the LRT and MRT management are already doing something about it.
Panelo said this was why the government is rehabilitating the MRT-3, building the Metro Manila Subway, MRT-7, Common Station, LRT-1 Cavite Extension and Philippine National Railway Clark, among others.
"Unfortunately, the haters and trolls find these actions not enough, or worse, they decide to neglect these efforts to serve their propagandist agenda. They have even blamed last October 3’s fire in LRT-2 upon the Duterte Administration," he said.
Due to the LRT-2 fire in the Katipunan station, it has been operating partially.
Panelo reiterated that administration is doing its best to provide not just immediate but also long-term solutions to the transport problem. Celerina Monte/DMS