Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has denied the existence of a mass transport crisis, saying commuters are still able to get to their destinations.
“What do they mean by transportation crisis? We can all get rides,” he said.
Some groups claimed the Philippines was facing a transport crisis, after a fire at the LRT 2 recently stopped its operations. While the service has resumed, commuters can now only travel between Cubao and Recto. Three stations—Santolan, Katipunan and Anonas—will remain closed for repairs for at least nine months.
Then again, Filipino commuters are not new to such inconveniences. Riders of the Metro Rail Transit have become used to the breakdowns and kilometric queues that attend their daily commuting experience.
Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos rely on trains every day. Their constant difficulties do not in any way make these glitches more acceptable.
Those who take buses and jeepneys are not without their own woes.
The ban on provincial buses along Edsa has not been resolved. This would be a sound idea—if there were adequate support facilities for commuters’ convenient transfer from both the north and south.
Metro buses, meanwhile, suffer from the boorish or opportunistic behaviors of their drivers, and the uneven maintenance quality of the units. During rush hour, these buses are packed, with passengers, standing for the duration of the trip.
Jeepney riders have to bear with the inability of many drivers and operators to modernize their vehicles to comply with newer standards. Occasionally, as was the case last week, they fall prey to petulant strikes by operators.
Those who have higher disposable income have the option of taking point to point buses, or application-based ride sharing vehicles, whose algorithms assign exorbitant rates to riders. But isn’t it objectionable that one must spend an unreasonable amount of hard-earned money for a little less aggravation?
The situation is compounded when it rains, when it is payday, when the holidays are around the corner, and sometimes, for no reason at all.
Actually, Mr. Panelo is right. People eventually get to their destinations. The question is, in what state do they arrive?
It is likely commuters never arrive at their destinations on time. If they do, it is because they factored in the anticipated inconveniences and included a ridiculous allowance in their travel time. These allowances come with a cost—-lost sleep time, skipped meals, and precious opportunity to be with loved ones.
Certainly, people do not arrive at their workplaces or schools in the ideal disposition. Even before they begin their tasks, they are exhausted and irritable, and likely not in their best mental or physical state. This in turn affects their productivity and temperament, depriving them from doing their best and providing value to their organizations.
At the end of the day, they have to go through the same ordeal.
We doubt Mr. Panelo has taken public transportation to inform his statements. The man does not know what he is talking about—this is why he speaks with such simplicity, arrogance and condescension.
Ignorance is bliss, the saying goes. With his absolute lack of knowledge about realities on the ground, and a willingness to even start doing that, small wonder that Mr. Panelo is looking so happy these days.