A timely challenge

January 25, 2019

WITH the chaotic traffic situation in the Metropolitan Manila (MM) area and other urban centers, government officials would do well to ride the country’s public utility vehicles (PUVs).

An influential commuter group, headed by lawyer Ariel Inton Jr., challenged government executives to personally experience the agony of riding PUVs such as buses, jeeps, taxicabs and vans.

Inton, founder of the Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP), issued the challenge in support of a proposed legislation now pending consideration in the House of Representatives.

Authored by Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winnie Castelo, the bill requires government officials to ride public utility jeeps (PUJs) or public utility buses (PUBs) in going to their offices once a week.

“I am sure kung sino mang opisyal (ang) gagawa nito (ay) talagang mararamdaman niya… kung anong kalbaryo araw-araw ang dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan sa pagsakay sa mga PUV,” said Inton.

The lawyer said that if the riding public would see public officials, including those from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), riding PUVs… their transport woes might be eased somehow.”

While the government is looking for lasting solutions to the country’s traffic problems, particularly during the so-called “rush hours,” let’s require public officials to ride PUVs.

We agree with Inton that if our officials experience the hardships of commuters, “siguro (mas) madali silang makagawa ng paraan o batas para malunasan ang problema sa land transportation.”

Thus, like other well-meaning Filipinos, we urge the two-chamber Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives -- to speed up the approval of Castelo’s proposed measure.

Let’s act now -- and fast -- if we are to address the worsening transport problems not only in Metropolitan Manila but elsewhere.