Leave early, he had repeatedly advised commuters complaining about Metro Manila’s horrific traffic that has kept them from getting to work and appointments on time.
On Friday, October 11, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo took his own advice and commuted from Marikina City to Malacañang Palace, taking 3 jeepneys and a motor bike ride.
He left his home at 5:15 am, spending about 15 minutes walking to the main road to take his first jeepney ride, and arrived in Malacañang at 8:46 am or 46 minutes past 8 am, when government offices open.
Panelo started his morning commute by releasing selfies taken on a jeepney bound for Sta Mesa.
Later, he sent selfies from two other jeepneys. On his last jeepney ride, he was ambush interviewed by the media along the Light Rail Transit line 2 Cubao station despite his refusal to release any details of his commute.
It was already past 8 am and he was still in Cubao, Quezon City, more than 7 kilometers away from Malacañang. Instead of acknowledging that he was already late, he only said, “Okay lang ‘yun (That’s okay).”
Citizens called him out for making this comment, saying regular workers would have incurred salary deductions for being late for work.
After prying himself from the media, he headed to V. Mapa, going down from his third jeepney to look for a tricycle. One approached him, but its engine would not run. A motorcycle rider came along and offered to take him to Malacañang but there was no extra helmet for him. After successfully getting another motor bike ride, he went on his final ride to work.
His entire commute took 4 transfers and 3.5 hours.
“Pareho ng dati, wala namang pinagbago eh. It’s the same, laking kalye ako eh (Nothing has changed. It’s the same, I know the streets well),” Panelo said of his commute.
While on jeepney rides, Panelo granted phone patch interviews to several radio stations and a TV news program. In an interview with DZMM, he said he kept his route secret to the media, and even to his security detail, family, and friends who had volunteered to accompany him.
In an interview with DZBB past 7 am, Panelo said he anticipated to arrive in Malacañang at around 9 am. He reiterated that what his advice to commuters to leave early to get to their destinations on time should not be seen as offensive. “My point there is that we are a very creative people,” said Panelo in a mix of Filipino and English.
Anakbayan national spokesperson Alex Danday said that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had turned their commute challenge into a mere “photo opportunity.”
A college student who wakes up at 3 am to get to her school in Manila had earlier said that Panelo did not understand how commuting works if he thought that leaving early would guarantee arriving early at one’s destination. (WATCH: Fed up with traffic, I walked from Cubao to BGC for work)
“It was a very insensitive comment. We all have different circumstances on why we commute, and for Panelo to easily say to just wake up early makes me think that he doesn’t understand how difficult it is to commute,” she said. – By Rappler.com