MANILA -- Instead of just finding fault, critics should provide solutions to solve the traffic woes in Metro Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Monday.

Panelo, who took on the challenge to use public transport to work last Friday, said critics including Vice President Leni Robredo should offer proposals since criticism does not help solve traffic.

“Iyong mga mahilig maghamon, eh magbigay kayo ng mga mungkahi kung papaano kayo makakatulong sa pamahalaan, ng mga magagandang proposal (Those of who who like posing challenges, give solutions on how to help the government, good proposals),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“Hindi makakatulong iyan, magbigay na lang kasi kayo ng proposal para makatulong kayo sa pamahalaan. Iyon ang solusyon doon (That does not help, just give a proposal so that you can help the government. That’s the solution),” he added.

Earlier, Robredo lamented that Panelo failed to acknowledge the existence of a “mass transport crisis” in Metro Manila, saying that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge its existence.

Panelo insisted that there is no mass transport crisis because there is no “paralysis” of transportation but a “traffic crisis” making it difficult for commuters to reach their destinations.

30 years behind

Among the reasons of the traffic volume in the country is because the Philippines is 20 to 30 years behind in infrastructure, Panelo said.

“Doon nag-umpisa iyan eh. Kulang tayo ng mga bridges, wala tayong Skyway, maliliit ang mga kalsada natin (That’s where it starts. We lack bridges, we don’t have a Skyway, our roads are narrow),” Panelo said.

Citing urban planning expert Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr., Panelo said the lack of continuity of transport projects is among the reasons behind the worsening traffic.

Panelo explained that he was not necessarily placing the blame on previous administrations but stressed how the problem was already predicted several years ago.

“Sinasabi lang sa taumbayan na ganoon kalalim ang problema; ganoon kahaba iyong neglect, iyong pagpapabaya kaya lumaki, lumalim, lumawak ang suliranin diyan sa trapikong iyan (I’m just telling the public that the it’s a deep problem and it has been neglected for a long time, and that neglect is why our traffic problems are bigger, deeper, wider now),” he said.

Panelo defended anew his decision to accept the challenge to commute to Malacañang from critics who said his stunt did not help solve traffic at all.

“The purpose of the challenge, to show to these people hurling the challenge that we in the government, doon sa mga matataas na puwesto, kayang gawin iyon (those in top posts, can do it),” Panelo said.

He said even without having done the challenge, he is aware of the commuters’ daily plight since he has also experienced the same hardship in his days as a student. (PNA)