DOTC chief ‘profoundly sorry’ for ‘insensitive’ remarks over traffic
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya apologised Thursday for an “off-the-cuff” remark on how increased road congestion arising from the construction of a railway extension project was not fatal to the riding public.
The remark, which drew widespread criticism, was made earlier this week and Abaya acknowledged in his statement that it “came across as reckless and insensitive.”
“I am aware that what I said has only added to the frustration and the suffering of the public. I am profoundly sorry for this,” Abaya said.
He nevertheless noted the crucial importance of the extension project of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 to Masinag in Antipolo. The P2.27-billion project would help serve an added 75,000 daily passengers living in densely populated areas of Rizal. Operations will begin by the third quarter of 2017, according to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
“My comments were made in relation to the impact of the LRT-2 extension project on traffic,” Abaya said.
“While construction will take two years, this is precisely the infrastructure needed to ease traffic congestion in the area. Our goal in extending the rail system to Masinag is to provide a more efficient and reliable commuting option to those affected,” he added.
The Masinag Extension covers the construction of a 4-km elevated viaduct from Santolan, Pasig City, to Masinag, Antipolo City. Two additional stations will be built: the Emerald Station in Cainta, Rizal, and the Masinag Station at the Masinag Junction in Antipolo City, according to the DOTC.
Apart from the construction of the eastward extension to Masinag, two other major contracts are up for bidding to further improve and modernize the LRT-2 system’s services.
“With this apology, I wish to assure the public that we are well aware of the situation we all face every day. Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power and exerting the maximum effort to ease traffic in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas. Some of these solutions will take time,” Abaya said. Miguel Camus, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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