Gov’t officials should use public transport once a month

MANILA -- A lawmaker at the House of Representatives has filed a measure requiring government officials to ride public transportation at least once a month during weekday rush hour.

AANGAT TAYO Rep. Neil Abayon filed House Bill 6195 entitled Public Servants Commuting via Public Transport Act.

Under the bill, 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, at least once every calendar month during weekday rush hours.

The various modes of public transportation government officials could ride include passenger buses, commuter trains, light rail, taxis, and transport network vehicle service, public utility jeepneys, and passenger tricycles.

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 said in his explanatory note.

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, he added.

The measure also sets economy class as the mode of air travel of all elected and appointed public officials, as well as civil servants regardless of rank.

The bill only provides certain exceptions to the limitations on land, air, and sea travel, which include the following:

Actual existing physical handicap or serious medical condition that significantly limits physical movement and mobility as certified by a licensed practicing medical specialist;

Security threats and concerns involving the President, Vice President, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court. However, these particular constitutional officials may voluntarily set aside the exception but they may be accompanied by a personal security team.

The personal, first-hand experience of riding public transportation will enable legislators to gain real world perspectives and inputs in aid of legislation, Abayon said.

Source: Philippine News Agency