Palace says heavy traffic during Xi’s visit is ‘understandable’
The heavy traffic caused by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in Manila this week was “understandable” and was only meant to ensure topmost security for the visiting head of state.
Malacañang said this on Thursday after the public complained of the traffic congestion that was aggravated by unannounced road closures.
“That should be understandable given the fact that the Manila area, the work was suspended, hence all the motorists would not be passing here so they would have to converge in Makati area and other places,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“We have to live with that because the concern of the state would be the security of the visiting head of state (Xi),” he added.
On Wednesday, the Presidential Security Group (PSG), in a statement, said the move to close roads in Metro Manila that caused massive traffic jams during the second day of Xi’s state visit was the decision of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
However, MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago claimed that the lockdown of some roads was the call of the PSG and they were just merely following instructions from them as well as provided augmentation of personnel.
It can also be recalled that in 2015, President Rodrigo Duterte, who was just a presidential aspirant back then, came under fire after he cursed at Pope Francis when the latter’s visit that year caused massive traffic in Metro Manila.
Panelo insisted that there’s a “whale of a difference” between heavy traffic experienced during Xi’s visit and the Pope’s visit.
“If you compare the traffic yesterday against the Pope’s visit (in 2015), there’s a whale of a difference. That time, it took us six, seven, eight, nine, 10 hours. Not this one,” he said. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.