Roque: I always ride MRT even without the media

MANILA -- Even without cameras and videos recording his action, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday said he intends to continue riding the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) as he "always" does even without the media.

"Of course, of course, I always ride it even without the media," he told the Philippine News Agency when asked if he will ride it again.

Roque said this amid calls from observers for him to try blending in with passengers during peak or rush hour.

Roque, however, said riding the train during rush hour would only bring inconvenience to regular commuters.

"Sa tingin ko po ay talo diyan, 'pag sumakay tayo ng rush hour, sasabihin masyado tayong nanggugulo. Hindi na nga po tayo rush hour sumakay, marami pa ring nagsabi na nagulo sila (I see it as a losing proposition--if we ride during rush hour, they'd say we're messing things up. We already rode outside rush hours, yet some were saying we're still disturbing them)," he said.

Roque explained that since the issue of MRT-3 has always surfaced during press briefings, he decided to assess the situation on the ground.

"Ang matagal talaga iyong pagpipila lang, kasi mga 15 to 20 minutes ako pumila, hindi na rush hour. So kapag rush hour iyan, siguro aabot iyan ng 30 to 45 minutes na pagpipila 'no na kaya naman mahaba ang pilahan dahil kulang ang bagon (What really takes long is the queueing. I lined up for 15-20 minutes on a non-rush hour. So if that was on a rush hour, the lining up alone would probably take 30-45 minutes. The reason the lines are long is that there are not enough coaches.)," he added.

Asked on his assessment, he told the PNA, "it's still the best form of mass transport because it's quick and it's cold." He added though that more coaches are obviously needed.

"I think the decision of the government to rescind the contract is correct and the decision to take over the MRT, for now, is correct, and the decision to also get a maintenance contractor for the long trip operation is also correct. So it validates all that the government is doing," he said.

On Nov. 6, the Department of Transportation terminated MRT-3's contract with its service provider Busan Universal Rail Inc. for poor performance and three other factors, including failure to provide the number of trains agreed on in its contract.

Source: Philippine News Agency