No mass transport crisis in Manila, officials maintain

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 9)— Transport officials on Wednesday maintained there’s no mass transportation crisis in Metro Manila, despite the consecutive breakdown of city train lines in the past weeks.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulator Board (LTFRB) Board Member Antonio Gardiola said the traffic situation in the metro remains under control.

“‘Yung crisis, alam natin na it's a situation na hindi… beyond control. But (in) this situation, it is still under control,” Gardiola said during the House transportation committee hearing Wednesday.

[Translation: We know a crisis… it’s a situation that is beyond our control. But (in) this situation, it is still under control]

“There is no transport crisis in this particular situation,” he added.

Gardiola added both the government and private sectors have been pitching in to help commuters affected by the partial shutdown of Light Rail Transit (LRT)-2, which caught fire last week following a glitch in its power supply transformers.

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

Transportation Undersecretary Mark De Leon, meanwhile, said that even if the public transport sector continues to face challenges, the government is doing everything it can to address them.

“Ang sinabi ng executive is wala pa pong paralysis. But we do experience challenges in terms of transportation… ‘yung mga challenges na ‘yan are being addressed right now by various projects,” De Leon said.

[Translation: What the executive said is that there’s no paralysis. But we do experience challenges in terms of transportation. Those challenges are being addressed right now by various projects.]

Reacting to the LRT-2 breakdown and other commuter woes, activist group Bayan released a statement saying the country is in the middle of a “mass transport crisis.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador 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.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.