Panelo accepts challenge to commute

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 9) — After calling it “silly,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has accepted the dare of groups for him to commute, in light of his denial of the existence of a transportation crisis.

Panelo said in a text message that he will take the jeep and then the LRT to Malacañang on Friday.

Some groups have called on Panelo to commute after refuting claims that Metro Manila is facing a transportation crisis following breakdowns of two of three of its major train systems.

Among them is Kilusang Mayo Uno Secretary General Jerome Adonis, who challenged Panelo to join him and other workers in commuting. Adonis dared Panelo to meet up with him at 6 a.m. at the MRT North Edsa station.

Panelo, who drew flak for his earlier comments on the issue, on Wednesday said that while he is aware of the “vexing daily commute” in Manila, there is no transport crisis because “there is no mass transit paralysis.”

“I stand by my statement: there is no mass transport crisis. The crisis is in the sufferance of commuters and motorists; while the other crisis is in the inefficient operation and maintenance of the LRTs - the crisis is in its poor management,” Panelo said in his statement.

“We will not allow it to be constant and permanent. Everyone who commutes or drives suffers everyday but solutions to solve it are not insuperable, and this administration is doing its best to provide not just immediate but also long-term solutions,” he added.

Panelo would not be the first presidential spokesperson to commute to work.

His predecessor, former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, took the MRT to work in 2017 after a string of glitches hit the major train line that plies EDSA. Roque then took the LRT to get to Malacañang.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.