Bare Truth by Rose de la Cruz
Bare Truth

Don’t talk, just do it

Jul 12, 2022, 11:49 PM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz

Columnist

I saw this story on Inquirer last July 11 where Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista bared his plan to ride buses and jeepneys to experience commuter woes.

It looked cute to me, but it would have been better if Jimmy did not talk about but just did it. The element of surprise has dissipated.

Whatever his reasons for divulging his plans—to make him look good with commuters by showing that he empathizes with their plight or that he is human enough (unlike many Cabinet members who would not dare riding a public transport because it is so unlike them)—he sort of lost a bit of appreciation from commuters like me in his plan.

I hope doing so was not a foretaste of him evolving into a political animal. His transport portfolio would bring him much political mileage, no doubt, so there is really no need for him to spill the bean even before doing so.

The Inquirer story said that “after riding the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), newly appointed transportation chief Jaime Bautista said Monday he is willing to ride buses and jeepneys to experience commuter woes.”

Bautista said he had a conversation with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Cheloy Garafil about possibly riding buses and jeepneys, to which the latter agreed. Wow, this is perhaps the first time I am hearing an LTFRB official agreeing to take a public transport, which the position only overly regulate the stakeholders without hearing their pleas for help or understanding. Too often when a fare hike hearing is scheduled by LTFRB (if ever it did) it would hastily come up with new fare matrix that did not approximate the proposal of the jeepney/bus/taxi operators and drivers.

“Sa totoo lang, nakita ko yung hirap ng pasahero by just looking at the lines. Alam mo, ako ay willing na sumakay sa mga bus na ‘yan,” Bautista said during the Laging Handa briefing.

That’s really good, but show more action in such empathy.

“Kaninang umaga, kausap ko ang chairman ng LTFRB at sinabi ko sa kanya, ‘Tayong dalawa, let’s try riding the bus and jeep.’ And sabi n’ya game daw siya,” he added.

Take note, appearing on Laging Handa briefings—which is broadcast and shown in social media (YouTube, etc) – had already made him and the LTFRB head already public figures, which if they pursue their plans of boarding a public transport would be defeated because by then the driver or passengers would have already recognized them, and perhaps give way to them in the line or in boarding such vehicles.

Based on data from the University of the Philippines’ School of Urban and Regional Planning, millions of Filipinos are relying on public transportation to get to their respective destinations—jeepney (8,959,000) and bus (1,865,000).

Bautista earlier made a surprise visit to the MRT-3 and rode the train in disguise to “experience first-hand the services of the rail line and interact with commuters.


Next time, please, my dear FB friend Jimmy, don’t publicize your plans and make that a policy with your other officials because announcing your moves and plans beforehand already defeats your purpose.

Which is why I miss the famous lines of the late Senator (and former Health Secretary) Juan Flavier, a barrio doctor who has mastered the art of surprises, “Let’s DoH it.” Nobody has lived up to these lines except him.


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