Ride public transport, public officials urge

This is public transport in a remote village of Surigao del Norte. A passenger motorbike is loaded in motorized banca for passenger to reach the tribal village.-Photo: Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

Congressman Neil Abayan of partylist AANGAT TAYO filed House Bill 6195 entitled “Public Servants Commuting via Public Transport Act” which specifically urged public officials from Cabinet Secretaries down to the lower ranks to ride a public transport.

The bills aims to allow elected and appointed public officials and civil servants in national and local government offices, from division chief to department secretary, are required to ride public land transport to and from work and for official business.

As it is now, public officials travel in luxurious government vehicles and/or fly via business class but during elections everyone wants to pretend they are pro-people.

In the Philippines public mode of transport include buses, commuter trains, light rail, taxis, and transport network vehicle service, public utility jitneys, passenger tricycles and even improvised motorbikes.

In many remote areas of the country, improvised motorbikes are the best public transport.-Photo:Newsline.ph

The proposal bill states: “Public service requires empathy and concerns for the people being served. Public service improves when it is rendered with empathy and compassion. Public service requires living modestly and does not mean entitlement to perks such as business class and first class accommodations with airlines.”

Abayon told reporters, public officials should feel how an ordinary citizen travel for them to be grounded to reality “Aside from their use of official government vehicles according to established rules and regulations, public servants should maintain their empathy with and compassion for the people by riding public transportation on occasion.”

The same proposal urged public officials to avail only economy class in booking an  aircraft.

In rural areas however, many public officials are used to riding public transport as road condition limits them to use their government vehicles.

Davao City Councilor Marissa Salvador-Abella of the second legislative district of the city said “I am riding public transport “Habal-Habal” often because in my districts especially in the hinterlands barangay roads are often impassable.”

North Cotabato second district Representative Nancy A. Catamco (on board a motorbike) was photographed riding a motorbike in visiting indigenous communities in her province.-Contributed Photo.

North Cotabato Second District Representative Nancy Catamco is always seen by residents riding motorcycles as she frequents the communities of the indigenous peoples in her district.

“Riding public transport to me is not a new thing, it is  a way of life for us specially in my province,” Catamco added.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello happily welcomes the proposal saying he is used to ride public transport “Mas enjoy ako kasi marami kang makita at makausap mo ang mamamayan (I’m enjoying it because I can see and talk to people).

The Abayaon bill is scheduled for public hearing.-Harold V. Pontongan/Newsline.ph