No mass transport crisis yet: Palace

Despite glitches in three of the country’s train systems, Malacañang on Tuesday said it does not consider this a “mass transport crisis”.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this comment as he rebutted Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato Reyes’s claim that Metro Manila is facing a mass transport crisis after the Light Rail Transit-1, 2, and the Metro Rail Transit-3 all experienced technical issues that disrupted operations.

Reyes said “the most serious situation” now is repairs in the LRT-2 Santolan to Anonas stations which will require around nine months.

Panelo said he did not consider these glitches as a “mass transport crisis” since there were still other ways for commuters to get rides to take them to their destinations.

“Ano ba ang ibig nilang sabihin ng transportation crisis? Ang nakikita ko lang traffic hindi ‘yung transport na iyon—mayroong transportation naman ah. Nakakasakay naman tayo lahat (What do they mean my transportation crisis? What I see is traffic not transportation crisis. We have transportation. People can still get rides),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“Mukha namang wala pa kasi nga makakarating pa naman ‘yung mga dapat makarating sa kanilang pupuntahan (I don’t think there is, because people can still reach their destinations),” he added.

Panelo said compared to the previous administration, “big improvements” have been made in the country’s train systems and glitches have lessened.

“Nabasa ko ‘yung paliwanag, dati-dati daw halos araw-araw nagba-bog down. Ngayon daw once a week na lang. So, ang laki daw ng improvement (I read an explanation, before the trains bog down almost every day. Now, it’s just once a week),” Panelo said.

The Palace official said commuters, who want to arrive at their destination early, should also learn to leave their homes “earlier”.


Address glitches

Panelo admitted that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and LRT and MRT management should address the glitches encountered by the train systems.

He, however, refused to answer whether or not he thought the nine-month period to fix the LRT-2 stations was too long and deferred it to transport authorities.

“There should be improvement in the LRT. So, ibig sabihin (this means) maintenance ang problema (is the problem), you’re not maintaining it properly. So, I think the management of LRT should know how to respond to this,” Panelo said.

“Hindi naman pupuwedeng forever tayong ganito (We can’t be this way forever). As I’ve said, if the problem is on the kind of transport we have, then there is a solution to that. You change the mean of transportation itself or if there is a problem on the operation with respect to its spare parts, hindi rin problema ‘yun; madali ring gawan ng paraan (that’s not a problem; it’s easy to find a solution),” Panelo added.

Panelo said transport authorities should take the blame if they cannot properly maintain the country’s train systems.

“I cannot understand why they cannot do that. If they cannot do that, then there’s something wrong with management,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, Panelo said it is the call of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFB) whether or not to expedite the release of franchises and routes for the modernization of jeepneys.

“There must be a reason why there is a delay, kung may (if there is a) delay man. It should be competent to know whether or not it has to grant franchises to help ease the problem on transport,” Panelo said.

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