De Lima slams gov't's failure to provide transportation at start of GCQ

By Mario Casayuran
Senator Leila M. de Lima chided the administration for failing to provide proper public transportation after it downgraded Metro Manila from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).


“This public transportation debacle just as we went into the GCQ smacks of gross elitism, inexcusable lack of foresight, and ultimately a failure of leadership,” she said.
“What in heavens were they thinking?! How can this administration not know that easing our quarantine requires public transportation?” she asked in her dispatch from her detention quarters at Camp Crame.

Based on media reports, the lack of options for mass transportation forced thousands of commuters returning to work on the first day of GCQ to either walk to offices or hitch rides on the backs of trucks or other private vehicles, if they weren't stranded on Metro Manila roads.

De Lima, a member of the Senate minority bloc, said the administration should realize that adequate public transportation is necessary to ensure that Filipino workers can safely report to work and return to their homes.

“Di hamak na maraming Pilipino ang walang sariling sasakyan, walang pambayad sa taxi, at walang choice kundi magtrabaho para sa pamilya (It is a given that many Filipinos have no private vehicles, have no money to pay taxi fare, and no choice but work for their families),” she said.

“Kung puwede lang na hindi sila lumabas ng bahay, gagawin nila. Pero ano ang kakainin ng kanilang pamilya kung hindi sila maghahanap-buhay? Paulit-ulit pa naman na sinasabi ng Malacañang na ititigil na ang ayuda. Hindi ba naisip ng administrasyon na kailangan nila ng maayos na transportasyon papunta sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan? (If given the choice, they will not leave their homes. But what will they eat if they don’t work? Malacanang kept on repeating that its subsidy will soon stop. Doesn’t this administration realize that the people need adequate transportation to reach their work places?)" she added.

Instead of offering excuses, De Lima said the administration should instead provide realistic solutions to the transportation crisis and improve the daily travel of commuters.

“’Pasensya na lang muna.’ ‘Konting sakripisyo pa.’ ‘No choice.’ ‘Matira ang matibay.’ Ganun na lang ba tayo? DOTr should fix this (In the mean time, "have patience.' 'Just a little more sacrifice.' 'No choice.' 'The durable will survive.' Is that all we should be? The Department of Transportation should fix this)," she added.