OCTOBER 11, 2019 – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended his work schedule on Friday after militant groups said he was already late for work while taking the “commuter challenge.”
Workers’ group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and youth group Anakbayan joined the Palace official during his jeepney ride in Cubao, Quezon City to grill him over his statements about the country’s transportation woes.
“Mukhang late tayo sa trabaho? Papaano ‘yan? Ang sabi niyo ay gumising nang mas maaga para pumasok nang mas maaga. Pero ngayon alas-otso ang pasok sa Malacañang, mukhang late na kayo,” KMU secretary Jerome Adonis said.
Panelo reportedly stayed overnight at his daughter’s home in Balete Drive, Quezon City where he started his commute around 5:15 a.m. From there, he returned to his house in Marikina where he started his journey to Macalanang with a jeepney ride around 6:45 a.m. He arrived in his office at the Malacañang compound past 8:45 a.m.
Responding to militant groups, Panelo argued they just misconstrued his statements.
“Kapag sinabi kong maaga, ibig sabihin lahat tayo dapat talagang maaga magigising kasi ‘di tayo makakarating sa paroroonan natin.”
“Ang cabinet member walang oras sa pagpasok… Lahat kami may kanya-kanyang trabaho,” he added, emphasizing they work beyond office hours.
The response, however, did not sit well with the militant groups, which pointed out that penalties were usually meted to workers for tardiness.
“Unfair po ‘yun sa tulad namin na araw-araw nagpapakahirap… Kami ho, mabibigyan ng tardiness kapag late kami sa trabaho,” Adonis explained.
“‘Yung kahulugan po ng pagkalate sa mga manggagawa, kaltas sahod po ‘yan,” Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday added.
To avoid the militant groups, Panelo took off near Gilmore along Aurora Boulevard and rode another jeepney.
He would end his commuter challenge by riding a motorcycle from Nagtahan to his office at the New Executive Building. He was unable to experience riding the LRT-2.
“‘Di ka kailangang sumakay para maramdaman ang nararamdaman nila. Mahirap sumakay, mahirap makipagbuno,” Panelo said in a chance interview.
“Kaya ko lang tinanggap, pinamumukna nila na di ko kayang gawin ‘yon. Ibig sabihin pinamukha ko sa kanila na sinungaling sila,” he added.
Panelo clarified his earlier remark saying there is no transport crisis in the country.
“Wala tayong mass transport crisis, wala namang paralysis. Merong crisis sa paghihirap ng tao,” he said. (Karen Macalalad/ AAD)
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