Palace: There's no mass transportation crisis in Manila

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — Malacañang on Tuesday maintained there is no mass transportation crisis in Metro Manila, despite complaints from commuters.

The recent breakdown of the Light Rail Transit 2, which is now only partially operational, has made commuting a nightmare for the 200,000 passengers who use the train service daily.

Only five trains are running through half the stations after a fire gutted two power supply transformers between the Anonas and Katipunan stations.

"Mukha namang wala pa. Kasi nga nakakarating pa naman ang mga dapat makarating sa kanilang pupuntahan," Panelo said.

[Translation: It seems like we're not in a mass transportation crisis. People can still reach their destinations.]

Pressed further on complaints about travel time, the Presidential spokesperson said that the solution is for people to leave for their destinations earlier.

"Ang solusyon dyan (The solution is), if you want to arrive early in your destination then you go there earlier," Panelo said.

On the trains, Panelo said that they are in better condition.

"Kung araw-araw nagbo-bog down tapos ngayon once a week, ang laki nga ng improvement," Panelo said.

[Translation: Before the trains bogged down everyday, now it bogs down once a week. That's a huge improvement.]

He maintained his stance even after reporters told him about how citizens from Marikina have complained that their commute to work can take seven hours due to the LRT-2 breakdown.

READ: Only 5 trains to run as LRT-2 resumes partial operations

The LRT Authority said repairs could take up to nine months as materials for repairs still need to be procured.

The LRT-2 normally accommodates passengers daily through its 11 stations running from Santolan in Pasig to Recto in Manila.

The has led to activist group Bayan's statement that the country is in a "mass transport crisis."

Panelo said that the LRTA has to improve its services.

"You're not maintaining it properly. The management of LRT should know how to respond to this," the Presidential Spokesperson said.

In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that claims about the existence of a transport crisis were based on incidents involving the LRT-1, LRT-2 and MRT-3 lines. The department said that the LRT-2 breakdown was "not of our own making."

"We encourage our countrymen to resort to 'bayanihan' rather than 'turuan' o 'sisihan'. Sama-sama nating ayusin ang problema," the DOTr said.

[Translation: We encourage our countrymen to resort to helping each other, rather than finger-pointing and blaming each other. Let's help each other solve this problem.]

It added that the department is addressing the supposed 20-year infrastructure backlog of the Philippines.