A lawmaker is pushing a bill that will require government officials to ride public transportation at least one a month.
AANGAT TAYO Party-list Rep. Neil Abayon filed House Bill 6195 or the “Public Servants’ Commuting via Public Transport Act” on August 15.
The bill requires “all elected and appointed public officials and civil servants in national and local government offices with the rank (or equivalent) of division chief to department secretary to ride public land transport to and from work and official business at least one every calendar month during weekday rush hours.”
The bill also defined public transportation to include passenger buses, commuter trains, light rail services, taxis, transport network vehicle services (TNVS), public utility jeepneys, and passenger tricycles.
“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 in the bill’s explanatory note.
Abayon added that public service requires empathy and concern for the people and that public servant should maintain their empathy by riding public transportation from time to time aside from their use of government vehicles according to the established rules and regulations.
“Public service requires empathy and concerns for the people being served… 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,” Abayon said.
The bill also requires officials to use economy class when traveling by air.
The only exceptions to the bill are:
- When an official has “actual existing physical handicap or serious medical condition that significantly limits physical movement and mobility as certified by a licensed practicing medical specialist; and
- If there are “security threats and concerns involving the President, Vice President, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court,” although these officials may to still choose to commute and be accompanied by a security team.