MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday said the traffic caused by road closures during the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping is understandable because the security of the visiting head of state is a priority of the government.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark following public criticism on the traffic caused by some road closures which were unannounced.
I think that should be understandable given the fact that the Manila area, the work was suspended. Hence, all the motorists would be not passing here because of the security, so they had to converge in the Makati area and other places; and there will be traffic all of us, me too, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Well, you have to live with that because the concern of the state would be the security of a visiting head of state, he added.
Panelo said he was not aware of any comment coming from President Rodrigo R. Duterte about the traffic situation.
In November 2015, Duterte, who was then Davao City Mayor, took a swipe at Pope Francis after he got caught in traffic during the Catholic leader's visit in the Philippines in January that year.
Panelo defended Duterte's earlier remark, noting that there was a huge difference between the traffic congestion caused by Xi's visit as compared to the one caused by the Pope's visit.
I guess if you compared the traffic the other day as against the Pope's visit, there is a whale of a difference, Panelo said.
That time really took us six, seven, eight, nine, 10 hours; not this one. This one, over two hours only it took me about that in coming here, he added.
On Wednesday, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) appealed to the commuting public to understand the reason for traffic caused by road closures.
In connection with the visit, we appeal to the understanding of those who may have been affected, PSG spokesperson, Capt. Zeerah Blanche Lucrecia said in a press statement.
As host to our State Guest, we provided the necessary hospitality and security to ensure the smooth flow of their movement, she added.
Xi made a historic state visit to the Philippines on Nov. 20 to 21 where at least 29 deals were inked between the Philippines and China. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency