Palace dares Robredo, critics to propose solution to traffic instead
Malacanang dared on Monday Vice President Leni Robredo and other critics to come up with proposals in addressing the "traffic crisis" instead of continuously hitting the government.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said the media should apologize and not criticize him for aggravating the traffic situation when he did the commute challenge last Friday.
"Maybe the media should be the one to apologize. Because if you recall, I declined coverage despite the request of the MPC (Malacanang Press Corps) and I did not mention where I would go," he said.
The members of the press stalked Panelo from Cubao, Quezon City until he arrived in Malacanang last Friday.
Panelo accepted the challenge of the militant groups to take public transport system when he goes to work to experience long travel time that ordinary people have to endure daily.
The spokesman denied there was a mass transport crisis since the people could still reach their destination but they have to leave their homes early.
He has said what is being experienced in Metro Manila is a "traffic crisis."
It took almost four hours and riding in at least four jeepneys and a motorcycle before Panelo reached Malacanang last Friday.
He made a round trip from New Manila to Cubao, both in Quezon City, then to Concepcion, Marikina and back to Cubao before proceeding to Malacanang.
On the new challenge for Panelo to commute for six months since one day was not enough, Panelo declined it, saying that he, as well as some members of President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet, had experienced riding in a public transport system.
"For those who are fond to make a challenge, just make good proposals on how to help the government (in addressing the problem). Like VP Leni, stop criticizing," said Panelo.
He noted Robredo mentioned that the government should accept that there is a crisis.
He said that he admitted there is a traffic crisis and not a transport crisis.
"Those (criticisms) won't help. Just give your proposal in order to help the government. That's the solution," stressed Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel.
Meanwhile, Panelo rejected the proposal of Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao for high-ranking government officials to take public transportation at least once a week.
He said if the bill to be filed only aims to have the Cabinet officials to experience how to commute, "just like what I've said, it's not necessary."
"But if the purpose is to share sympathy every now and then, there's no problem with us," the official said.
He said as far as he knew, almost all Cabinet members, except maybe Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., had experienced taking public transportation.
"So all of us had experienced it. We had experienced how to compete in riding a jeepney, also in a bus," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS