Panelo: Gov’t addressing traffic woes

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    CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, yesterday reiterated that solving the traffic problem in Metro Manila would go beyond the term of President Duterte, but said the important thing is that projects to address the traffic snarls have been started by the incumbent administration.

    “Hindi ba sinabi na nga natin, mahirap at matagal ang—‘di ba sinasabi nga ng mga expert eh mga 15 to 20 years. Basta ang importante, may ginagawa ang pamahalaan. Kumbaga, hindi lang nakaupo diyan at nakatunganga (Haven’t we said it, it’s difficult and would take long — even experts said it would take 15 to 20 years. But what is important, if the government is doing something. It I not just sitting down and doing nothing),” he said.

    Panelo said the President himself acknowledged that he might end his term without solving the traffic situation.

    He said among the things the country needs to address traffic is infrastructure which he said government is trying to address through the Build, Build, Build program.

    Among the programs are improving the mass transit system like rehabilitating the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3), building the Metro Manila subway, constructing the MRT-7, erecting a common train station, and extending the Light Rail Transit (LRT-1) to Cavite.

    Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said the Build, Build, Build program of the administration is not enough to solve the traffic situation and a more comprehensive program should be presented by government.

    Panelo said Reyes may instead want to come up with his own suggestions and send it to Malacañang.

    He also advised Reyes to write to the different departments to inquire about projects or programs they are implementing to address the traffic.

    If he does not receive any response, he can criticize and say there are no plans, Panelo said.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin reminded Panelo it is the duty of the administration to address the traffic problem.

    Locsin issued the reminder after Panelo on Monday urged critics to help solve the traffic problem instead of calling on government officials to take public transport to experience what the public is going through.

    Locsin said it is the duty of the opposition to criticize.

    “But Sal, it’s division of labor: as the administration, it is our duty to solve what DU (Duterte) said is the insoluble traffic problem; as those who caused it, it is the opposition’s prerogative to criticize our efforts,” he said on Twitter.

    Locsin also said Duterte has been denied powers to really address the problem, apparently referring to the emergency powers Malacañang requested from Congress. – With Ashzel Hachero