Gatchalian: Gov’t officials should experience citizens’ woes
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Saturday that government officials like himself should experience what Filipinos go through in areas suffering from lack of electricity and heavy traffic.
Gatchalian made the remark a day presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo took public transportation to work, as challenged by youth group Akbayan, and after Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri dared the Department of Energy (DOE) officials to stay in areas without electricity.
“It’s good for government officials, including us senators, to experience the difficulties that our Filipinos experience,” Gatchalian said in Filipino in an interview at AM radio station DWIZ when asked about his reaction on Zubiri’s challenge to DOE officials in a Senate hearing.
Gatchalian said it would be a good idea for Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to try living in an area without electricity.
“Imagine a place without electricity: How would you study? How would you cook?” Gatchalian said.
He noted that Cusi had not accepted the challenge.
Transportation crisis is real
Gatchalian also recognized the existence of a transportation crisis in the Philippines, noting how Filipinos waste time every day by commuting.
“Instead of already working or spending time with your family, you waste it on traveling — and for me, that is a crisis,” he said.
Gatchalian suggested that the government should create a “comprehensive strategy” to upgrade the transportation system in the Philippines.
He also noted that the government would invest almost P130 billion to improve the country’s railway system.
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