Justice chief: No value in commuting challenge

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said taking on a commuting challenge will only add to the transportation issues in Metro Manila. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said taking on a commuting challenge will only add to the transportation issues in Metro Manila.

Guevarra said there is no value in taunting government officials into commuting to work.

“[Such] a challenge will only add to the commute problem. [No] value added,” he said in a text message on Sunday.

A lawmaker on Saturday urged government officials to use public transportation every Monday, to immerse them in the public’s commuting woes.

This after transport authorities and Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo denied there was a transportation crisis in the country’s capital. To attempt to prove his point, Panelo accepted a “commuting challenge” on Friday where he took only public modes of transport on his way to work from Marikina City to Malacañang Palace in Manila, a trip that lasted almost four hours in the morning.

Guevarra said he was already aware of the difficulty faced in using public transportation even before he became a top official.

"[Sanay] ako sa hirap ng [I am used to the difficulty in the] daily commute to and from [Bulacan]. [I] had no first-owned car till [I] became a lawyer, and had no driver till [I] got to [Malacañang]. [I] know how hard it is out there,” he asserted.

He further explained the plight of his regular commute.

“[In] 2015… one-way trip from [North Luzon Expressway] to [Ortigas Center] took me at least 2 hours. [I] just want to say that you need not be on the moon to know that there is a moon,” Guevarra shared.

Public outcry for fixes in the region’s transportation system emerged after the Light Railway Transit Line 2 was closed due to repairs following a fire that damaged its power system. The train line is currently only on partial operations, from Cubao to Recto stations.

The LRT 2 management said last week that it will take nine months for the entire line to become available once again. But over the weekend, they said the line could be back to full operations in two to three months.