By Joel E. Zurbano | Manila Standard Today | August 20, 2015
THE country’s largest labor organization tore into Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya Wednesday for being arrogant and insensitive to the plight of commuters after he remarked Monday that heavy traffic brought about by the extension of the city train system would not prove fatal.
“It is very unfortunate for the Filipino people to have Secretary Abaya as a public servant,” said a spokesman for the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa, Allan Tanjusay. “Not only has he been insensitive to the plight of the commuter, he has been inefficient and arrogant.”
Last year, the TUCP also criticized Abaya for remarking that riding the MRT was “a personal decision,” after his department came under fire over safety concerns when a commuter train shot off its tracks and landed on a major thoroughfare, injuring 40 people.
“Riding MRT is a personal decision. I won’t go out of my way to convince the people to ride. We all make our own decisions. It’s a free country,” Abaya said at the time.
On Tuesday, the leftist Bagong Alyasang Makabayan said Abaya follows the footsteps of President Benigno Aquino III when it comes to being insensitive to the plight of the people.
“For Abaya, the traffic situation is not fatal. Neither are the long lines and decrepit trains of the MRT and LRT. Everything is well as far as they’re concerned,” said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr.
Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter users expressed their disgust at Abaya, saying it would be better for him to resign.
Abaya’s latest statement came days after the Metro Manila Development Authority warned that the traffic buildup would worsen when the expansion of the LRT starts next month.