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Panelo: No mass transport crisis, only crisis in LRT management, commuters’ sufferance

/ 01:59 PM October 09, 2019
Panelo MRT LRT transportation

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Wednesday stood by his earlier statement that there is no mass transport crisis in Metro Manila, saying that what is gripping the capital region now is a “crisis in poor management” of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system and the “crisis is in the sufferance of commuters and motorists.”

“I stand by my statement: There is no mass transport crisis. The crisis is in the sufferance of commuters and motorists; while the other crisis is in the inefficient operation and maintenance of the LRTs — the crisis is in its poor management,” Panelo said in a statement.

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“This is the reason why I called the attention of the management of these existing railway operators, a narrative which was left unstated in various reports to the public,” he added.

Panelo, who is President Rodrigo Duterte’s official mouthpiece and legal counsel, drew flak for denying Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr.’s claim that a “mass transport crisis” is currently gripping Metro Manila as all its three railway transport systems suffered glitches last week.

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The commercial operation of the LRT Line 2 bogged down last week due to an electrical fire, forcing some 220,000 passengers to find alternative modes of transportation. Meanwhile, the LRT-1 stopped trips in its two stations due to “mechanical issues” Thursday.

Panelo pointed out that the Duterte administration only inherited the “present traffic woes and inadequate mass transit system” from its predecessors.

“These perennial problems are a carryover of two previous administrations and inherited by the present one,” Panelo said.

“This [current] administration wanted to address the same immediately but Congress opted not to grant the President emergency powers he asked from it at the inception of his presidency to solve it,” he added.

Panelo went on to claim that the present problems in Metro Manila’s mass transit system are the “products of many years of neglect by the previous administrations,” which Duterte inherited and currently trying to address.

“This administration, however, considers these problems as solvable, and the LRT and MRT management are already doing something about it,” he said, noting that the Duterte administration has started rehabilitating the MRT-3, building the Metro Manila Subway, MRT-7, Common Station, LRT-1 Cavite Extension and PNR Clark.

“Unfortunately, the haters and trolls find these actions not enough, or worse, they decide to neglect these efforts to serve their propagandist agenda. They have even blamed last October 3’s fire in LRT-2 upon the Duterte administration,” he added. /jpv

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