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Cayetano on traffic critics: No need for more challenges

CAPAS, Tarlac — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged those who criticize the government for the worsening Metro Manila traffic to stop issuing challenges.

In an interview with reporters here, Cayetano said that while he understands the message that these detractors are trying to send across, it should not with challenging officials to take public transportation.

"The challengers or the people who made the challenges made their point. We hear you loud and clear. Now is the time to act and stop yung mga challenge-challenge," he said.

"Hindi naman [pwedeng] araw-araw, we just keep challenging each other sa traffic lang, because we also have to challenge each other sa agriculture, sa health, sa education. But ang point is yung mga plano nakalatag," he added.

Cayetano said other countries also experience traffic problems, which he believes that is a product of a nation's improving economy.

"[Kapag] maganda ang ekonomiya, may pambili ng sasakyan ang mga tao, and then sa Pilipinas, about half ng lahat ng binibiling private na sasakyan ay sa Metro Manila napupunta," he said.

"That's why nag-iinvest ang gobyerno sa subway system, sa bagong railway system, sa monorail, at tsaka sa BRT (bus rapid transit system)," he added.

Cayetano also pointed out that during the campaign period for the 2016 elections, it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who said that it was difficult to find a solution to the Metro Manila traffic.

That is why Duterte proposed the shift to a federal form of government and empower the regions so that Metro Manila will be decongested, he added.

"Sa akin, maganda yung mga challenge-challenge para nga front and center, para mapag-usapan, para magising ang dapat magising pagdating sa traffic," Cayetano said.

"But having said that, dapat ikwento rin ng gobyerno yung mga pinagdadaanang hirap para mabuo ito," he added.

Last week, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo accepted the challenge of Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes to take public transportation going to Malacañang after he insisted that Metro Manila is not suffering from a mass transportation crisis.

Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas also dared public officials, including lawmakers, to live with only the daily minimum wage for them to experience the plight of the ordinary citizens. —JST, GMA News