MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano “Ruffy” Biazon on Monday appealed to government officials to stop being in denial on the existence of a mass transport crisis in Metro Manila and feel the suffering of commuters.
At a meeting of the House transportation committee, Biazon expressed lament at how some officials “make things worse” by denying there’s a crisis and brushing aside the daily ordeal of commuters.
“Let’s be sensitive to the people,” he said. “Just having a long list of what we do won’t work if we don’t make people feel we have empathy for them,” Biazon said in Filipino.
“When people feel there’s a crisis and we deny it, it makes matters worse,” he added.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo was earlier heavily criticized for denying there’s a mass transport crisis.
He said there couldn’t be a crisis because people still reach their destinations.
Prior to Biazon’s appeal, Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan repeatedly refused to answer directly when he was asked at the meeting if the National Capital Region, indeed, is suffering from a transportation or mobility crisis.
“Probably, going beyond, let’s just focus on what our responses are,” Batan said in Filipino.
“Our current investment in mass transportation is probably bigger than what we’ve invested in the last two decades put together,” he said.
“We acknowledge the huge problem we have to address and we’re taking steps,” he said.
Biazon said while he appreciated the steps being taken by the Department of Transportation, all signs pointed to commuters feeling a crisis in mass transportation.
The existence of a crisis in transportation was first pointed out by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes who concluded that a mass transport crisis is upon Metro Manila following the grounding of MRT 3 and LRT 1 due to different mechanical issues.
Another mass transport system, LRT 2, was paralyzed after a fire destroyed a piece of electrical equipment called power rectifier. LRT 2 is operating only partially now.
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