PHILIPPINE STAR/ EDD GUMBAN

OPPOSITION SENATOR Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel on Thursday criticized the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for failing to recognize the continued difficulties faced by commuters and public transport drivers.  

“How will you make a solution if you keep on denying that there is something that needs to be fixed? In problem-solving, the first step is to acknowledge that there really is a problem, and that is what the Malacañang should be doing, not to sugar-coat and carry their own boat,” said Ms. Hontiveros in a press release.  

Mr. Duterte, in his final State of the Nation Address Monday, glossed over the transport problem by saying the government had “taken away the misery of public commuting.”  

Ms. Hontiveros also expressed disappointment that P4 billion under the Bayanihan II or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act was allowed to expire when it was intended to subsidize bus and jeepney operations.  

Bayanihan II was a stimulus package of P140 billion plus a P25.5-billion standby fund, which was supposed to benefit industries and sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Yes, we opened roads to quicken travel time, but if no public vehicles will run to cater to commuters, what’s the point? If congestion is not on roads, you will see these on long lines instead,” she said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan