Challenge denied: No 6-month commute challenge for Panelo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2019   •   726

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo did not accept the challenge of a commuter group to continue to the commute challenge for six months.

In a press briefing on Monday (October 14), Panelo said there is no need to accept the challenge of Kongreso ng Mananakay because everyone experiences heavy traffic, whether you are commuting or in a private vehicle.

“Kahit hindi ka sumakay doon, mararanasan mo pa rin dahil araw-araw nakikita mo iyon hindi na kailangang tumanggap ng anong paghamon (Even if you do not commute, you can still experience [traffic] because you can see it everyday without accepting any challenges),” Panelo said.

READ: Panelo on commuting to work: It’s nothing new

Panelo also challenged to provide suggestions to solve the traffic crisis instead of criticizing the government.

“Kaya ko lang naman pinagbigyan sila para ipamukha sa kanila na hindi totoo iyong hindi namin nararanasan (The only reason I accepted their challenge was to belie their claims that we do not experience [the crisis]),” Panelo added.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

MRT-3 begins earlier bus trips after commuter woes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 8, 2020

The MRT-3 management has set an earlier schedule for their bus augmentation after commuters experienced longer queues due to MRT-3’s suspended operations.

Roma Salazar, one of the commuters, said she had to adjust her travel time by two hours earlier after the MRT-3 halted its operations due to the spike in COVID-19 cases among its employees.

“Dapat kasi ang alis ko ng bahay 6:00 a.m. Since nawalan ng byahe ang MRT, inagahan ko nang alis nang 4:00 a.m. kasi expected ko na mahaba ang pila, (I usually leave at 6:00 a.m., but since MRT is closed I left the house at 4:00 a.m. I expected the lines would be long),” she said.

From the previous 5:30 a.m. schedule for the bus trips, the MRT-3 management set it at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday (July 8). Several modified bus stops were also opened along the center island on EDSA.

The stations include: North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Main Avenue, Santolan, Ortigas, Guadalupe, Ayala, and Taft Avenue.

However, this caused confusion among several commuters. Some of them had to walk to reach the modified bus stops.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Spokesperson Asec. Goddes Hope Libiran is appealing for public commuters’ understanding, saying the new protocols cater to their safety.

“Ito naman po ay hindi naman permanente. Interim lang po ito habang nagkakaroon ng problema sa ating MRT-3. Sa lalong madaling panahon, inaayos naman natin iyan para makababa at makasakay ulit sila doon sa mga istasyon na binababaan nila dati, (This is only temporary. This is only an interim while there are issues with MRT-3. We are fixing the matter as soon as possible so commuters can board and alight at the original stations)” she said. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Expect longer queues at MRT-3 under the new normal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2020

The Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) has warned its passengers to expect longer queues as they prepare to resume operations under the ‘new normal’.

The management will be implementing strict physical distancing where passengers are required to wear face masks. Senior citizens, pregnant women, and passengers ages 21 and below will not be allowed inside the MRT-3.

Passenger numbers will only be limited to 153 per train and those with high temperature will also not be allowed to enter.

According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Engr. Michael Capati, queues would take longer than an hour.

“They will have to allocate more time in their travel time. Kasi alam naman nila doon sa dati nating “normal”, mahaba ang pila. Matagal silang pumipila, much more dito sa ‘new normal’, mayroon compliance doon sa social distancing, (Because in the previous “normal”, lines were already long. They used to wait in line for hours, much more here in the ‘new normal’, there is compliance to social distancing),” he said.

With this, the MRT-3 management is recommending private companies to consider flexible work schedule to avoid overcrowding, especially during rush hours.

They are also planning to add more trains which include the three Dalian trains that passed in the decommissioning. Capati said there are 15 to 16 operational MRT-3 trains.

“Talgang kailangan mag-deploy ng more trains available (There is a need to deploy more available trains),” he said.

Meanwhile, the LRT-1 and LRT-2 are also preparing to implement new protocols under the ‘new normal’. LRT-2 will limit the number of passengers to 160 per train while LRT-1 will limit the number of passengers to 158. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Gov’t seeks single facility for COVID-19 patients

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 17, 2020

The government is looking for a single facility to house confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients to prevent overcrowding in hospitals.

On Monday (March 16), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recommendation will be discussed in a meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We are recommending that there should be only one place where we can put all those confirmed cases,” he said.

Panelo said this would lessen the risk of occupational transmission of the virus. He said placing patients in one or two facilities may help in controlling the spread of the disease.

“Baka maubusan tayo ng ospital na paglalagayan (We might run out of hospitals for the patients); and not only that, we are exposing our health workers to the same infection,” he said. — AAC

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