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Philippines government proposal could force MPs to use public transport

JeepneyAn MP in the Philippines has introduced a bill which could see government officials forced to use public transport. But lawmakers won’t have to mothball their limos just yet as the requirement to join commuters and tourists will only be once a month if the bill gets the green light.

Representative Neil Abayon has submitted Bill 6195 for reading. The bill proposes a move which will see everyone from MPs down to appointed government officers taking land transport. The only exemptions are the president, the vice-president, the Supreme Court justices and those with serious physical disabilities.

To qualify for their monthly ride, officers and MPs can take any mode of land transport. This includes urban trains and buses, provincial buses, taxis, shared taxis known as jeepneys, and the ubiquitous Asian rickshaw three-wheeled bicycles.

Another stipulation that will have the average commuter in Manila rubbing their hands in glee is that the journeys have to be taken during peak morning and evening rush hours. The journeys also have to be on official business.

Mr Abayon is not only limiting his attentions to land travel. If the proposals in Bill 6195 are enacted, officials will be limited to economy class when flying or travelling by sea. Commenting on the reasons behind filing the bill, Abayon says public servants and employees should live and travel moderately.

The MP expounded by saying public service did not come with the right to travel perks and riding first class every time. He finished off with the claim that officials who travelled with the people would be able to empathise with them and see how difficult travel was.

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