Five minutes from Cubao to Makati could still happen — Palace 

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Five minutes from Cubao to Makati could still happen â Palace 
Holding the day’s issue of The Philippine STAR, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo sits on the entry steps of a jeepney in Cubao, Quezon City as he took on the ‘commute challenge’ yesterday.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Sunday lamented that the president's promise of a five-minute travel time from Cubao to Makati did not become a reality because some conditions had not been met.

The Malacañang mouthpiece did not specifically say what these conditions were but said that the president's promise could still become a reality by the time his term ends in 2022.  

“Well, alam mo ‘yung pangako, depende sa mga factor o kalakaran na magbibigay prutas doon sa kanyang pangako,” the Palace official said in an interview with dzIQ.

(Well, you know, the promise depends on the factors and trends that will give fruition to his promise.)

“Kung hindi natupad ‘yung mga kalakaran na yun kasi those conditions are not present, hindi pa magaganap ‘yun."

(If those trends were not met because those conditions are not present, the promise would not yet be fulfilled.)

Solving the metro's traffic woes was among the still-unfulfilled campaign promises that propelled Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency. 

In June, he promised specifically to secure for drivers an easy five minute trip when traveling from Cubao to Makati. 

President Duterte also later asked for emergency powers to address the traffic congestion problem along EDSA but later gave up on the idea once the powers were not granted to him. 

Transport in crisis 

Navigation software app Waze has called Metro Manila the world's worst place to drive in after its data showed that it took five minutes just to drive one kilometre. 

Urban planner Jun Palafox said in October that Filipinos on average spend nine to fifteen years of their lives waiting in traffic. 

In the same month, the country's dilapidated mass transportation system was thrust into the spotlight as the three mass transit systems broke down in the span of five days. 

This prompted labor and transport groups like Bayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno to decry what they called a mass transportation crisis in the country that made each day unbearable for the commuting public. 

The same groups later challenged Panelo to commute to his workplace in Malacanang after the latter asserted that no such crisis existed. After taking up the challenge, which took him four hours, Panelo concluded that commuters simply have to leave their homes earlier if they wanted to get to their destinations on time. 

The Japan International Cooperation Agency for their part said that the time wasted in traffic every day cost the Philippines P3.5 billion in lost opportunities, a number they foresaw to double if left unchecked.

Transport alternatives aren't given an easier time, either. On Saturday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board announced that it would be imposing a cap of 10,000 riders for motorcycle service app Angkas, displacing some 17,000 of its existing pool of motorists. 

Thousands of their riders protested at the EDSA Kalayaan Shrine the very next day. 

Despite the dire situation, Panelo believes that the Chief Executive's earlier promise is still a possibility. 

“Hindi ibig sabihin na hindi maganap ngayong taon, hindi magaganap hanggang sa matapos ang kanyang termino,” he said.

“Hangga’t may buhay ay may pag-asa."

(It doesn’t mean that if it did not happen this year, it would not happen until his term ends. As long as there is life, there is hope.)




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