No media coverage for Panelo's commute challenge
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has accepted the challenge of Anakbayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan to commute to work to experience the daily sufferings of commuters in Metro Manila.
RTVM screengrab
No media coverage for Panelo's commute challenge
( - October 10, 2019 - 3:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo will commute to work on Friday without media coverage.

The Malacañang mouthpiece has accepted the challenge of progressive groups to try commuting after denying the existence of a mass transport crisis in Metro Manila.

"Ayoko ng media coverage kasi baka maging spectacle pa 'yan. I'm sure may makakakilala naman sa akin 'pag nakita ako doon baka may kukuha surreptitiously or I can take a selfie of my own," Panelo said in a televised press briefing.

(I don't want media coverage because it might become a spectacle. I'm sure someone will recognize me and take a photo surreptitiously or I can take a selfie of my own.)

Panelo, however, refused to divulge the details of his commuting to work. He remained silent when asked if he would commute during rush hour.

Anakbayan has set some ground rules on Panelo's commute challenge, such as commuting during rush hour for a week.

The Malacañang spokesman claimed that commuting is ordinary for him.

"Meron akong driver pero minsan nakakatulog. Anong gagawin mo? E di mag-co-commute na lang. Mag-ta-taxi or sasakay ka ng jeep para sumakay ng taxi," he said.

(I have a driver who sometimes falls asleep. What will you do? You commute instead. You take a taxi or ride a jeepney to get a taxi.)

Asked when was the last time he commuted, Panelo said it was two months ago when he last rode a taxi, which is not considered commuting.

Panelo also noted that his acceptance of the challenge was "silly" as he is not trying to prove anything.

"It's a silly acceptance... When you share the suffering of other people in a different way it's not a waste of time, it's sharing," Panelo said.

Despite drawing flak for his comments on the situation of mass transportation in Metro Manila, Panelo stood firm on his position that there is no crisis.

"Whether you are a motorist, you're a commuter, you suffer the same... All of us are affected by it kaya 'yung crisis is crisis in the suffering of all — hindi paralysis," he said.

He added that the crisis is within the management of public transportation, such as the train systems and buses.

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