Solon wants gov’t officials to commute every Monday

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — A bill seeking to require government officials to use public transport every Monday will be filed in the House of Representatives.

Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao said he will file a proposed Public Servants' Commuting via Public Transport Act. It takes a step further an earlier proposal to have public officials commute at least once a month so they can experience what their constituents suffer daily.

"[M]y improvement on that idea is these officials should commute at least every Monday so they will be reminded weekly of the suffering the masses endure on a consistent basis," Siao said in a statement on Saturday.

"Kapag naisabatas po ito, makakaasa po ang publiko na mas mamadaliin naming mga government officials na solusyunan ang problema sa transportasyon," he added.

Under the measure, all ranking civil servants, from division chiefs to Cabinet secretaries will be stripped of their government-issued vehicles. Siao estimates that thousands of cars will be off the streets, so traffic will be eased.

"Those ranking civil servants should commute using any of the available options: tricycles, jeepneys, buses, FX/UVs, light rail, PNR trains, and TNVS units. Kung gustong magbisikleta, pwede rin. Tuwing Monday lang naman," Siao added.

He made the statement in the wake of the highly-talked about move of Presidential Spokeperson Salvador Panelo to accept the challenge of taking public transport to work. After a three-and-a-half-hour travel from his home in Marikina City to Malacañang riding jeepneys and a motorcycle, Panelo insisted on Friday that there's no transport crisis.

"You know when I said there was no crisis , I was referring to paralysis. There is no paralysis in the transport system because we can still get rides," Panelo told CNN Philippines.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade shares Panelo's view and said he knows this because he does take public transportation occasionally. He also maintained that there is no transport crisis in Metro Manila, even as the recent of breakdown of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 2 has led to Marikina citizens to complain that their commute to work could take up to seven hours.

According to a study of the aid-giving Japan International Cooperation Agency, the country loses ₱3.5 billion daily due to traffic congestion. This could inflate to ₱5.4 billion by 2035 if nothing is done to fix traffic problems.