By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang told Vice President Leni Robredo and other critics of the administration that instead of criticizing the government, they should just make suggestions on how to solve Metro Manila’s traffic problem.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Robredo said that the Palace should just admit that there was a transportation crisis, instead of saying there was none because people are already suffering.
In his press briefing, Panelo, who took on the challenge to commute to work last week, said critics should stop criticizing, and start helping the government solve the problem.
“Ang gawin niyo na lang, yung mga mahilig maghamon, eh magbigay kayo ng mga mungkahi kung paano kayo makakatulong sa pamahalaan ng magandang mga proposal (To those who like to pose challenges, what you should do is give good proposals to help the government),” he said.
“Gaya ng VP Leni. Tama na yung kritisismo. Kasi sinasabi niya ‘Aminin mo na may crisis.’ Susmaryosep naman (Like the Vice President. They should stop with the criticisms already. She said we should just admit that there is a crisis. My goodness),” he added.
Hindi makakatulong ‘yan. Magbigay na lang kayo ng proposal para makatulong kayo sa pamahalaan. Yun ang solusyon doon (That will not help. They should give proposals to help the government. That’s the solution),” he continued.
The Palace official made an example of businessman Ramon Ang who, according to him, made a suggestion on how to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
“Si Ramon Ang texted me and said ‘If you want to decongest traffic by 30 percent, sabihin mo sa DPWH mag-construct ng temporary bridge diyan sa Mandaluyong.’ Kasi sarado yung bridge, eh (tell the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct a temporary bridge in Mandaluyong because the bridge there is closed),” Panelo said.
“At least si Don Ramon Ang, merong suggestion na binibigay, hindi lang nagki-criticize (At least Don Ramong Ang not just criticizes, he also gives suggestions),” he added.
Panelo said he forwarded Ang’s suggestion to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar who said constructing a temporary bridge would be difficult.
“Pero ang sabi niya (Secretary Villar) we’re 30 percent completion doon sa (in the) permanent bridge and because of that mahirap mag-construct ng (it would be difficult to construct a) temporary bridge. Anyway, meron tayong ginagawang skyway yata ‘yon. Oh, yun ang sagot niya (Anyway, we’re constructing a skyway, I think. That’s what he told me),” he said.
“Sa madaling sabi, ginagawan din ng paraan (In other words, we’re doing something),” he added.
On Friday, Panelo took on the challenge of progressive groups to commute from his place to the Palace.
Meanwhile, Panelo also addressed Robredo’s statement on government officials appear to be insensitive for using sirens when they are on the road. According to Panelo, no one from President Duterte’s Cabinet uses one unless it’s an emergency.
“Sino ba sa mga Cabinet members nagwa-wang-wang? Ginagawa lang yung pag may emergency, kung Cabinet member ang involved. Kailangan makarating ka dapat sa paroroonan mo. Bihirang-bihira ‘yan. Kahit ako bihirang-bihira ko makita yun (Who does that among Cabinet members? If someone does, they only do it during emergencies, when you have to reach your destination quickly. But that is a rare scenario),” he said.
The use of sirens by government officials was banned during the time of President Benigno Aquino III. However, it was brought back when President Duterte assumed office.
For his part, Panelo said he never used a siren since he joined government, except for one time when his driver took a wrong turn and he was running late for an event. He said he doesn’t like using it.
He also said that even President Duterte does not like having sirens when he is on the move. However, he said he would understand if other government officials would use it.
“Kahit si Presidente ayaw ng wang-wang, eh. Kahit noong mayor ‘yan sumasakay ako sa kanyang pick-up. Ayaw nga ngang nag-o-overtake. Sabi niya, ‘Hayaan mo na. Makakarating din tayo. Pabayaan mo na sila (Even President Duterte does not like to use those sirens. He does not even like overtaking other cars. He said we’ll reach our destination anyway),'” Panelo said.
“Personally si Presidente ayaw niya ng mga ganoong wang-wang (the President does not want to use those sirens). But I can understand personally kung kailangang gamitin mo yung wang-wang (if you need to use it) on a particular occasion,” he added.