• Transportation Secretary clarified controversial remark on traffic
  • He said he meant that public should stop using traffic as an excuse to be late
  • Inquirer standing by its story, said it even asked Tugade for clarification

MANILA, Philippines – With anger brewing over his remark about traffic being a state of mind, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade clarified that his statement pertained more to the Filipinos’ penchant to use traffic as an excuse to go to their appointments late.

“Liliwanagin ko, noon pa man sinasabi ko na ‘nababoy’ na ng trapiko ang buhay ng Pilipino. Bakit ko naman sasabihing state of the mind ‘yun? Hindi naman ako bobo,” he told ABS-CBN.

[To make it clear, I’ve long been saying that traffic has ruined the lives of Filipinos. Why would I say it is just a state of mind? I am not stupid.]

Tugade was backed by his Assistant Secretary for Communications Cherie Mercado-Santos who wrote a letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer accusing it of using a misleading headline.

“The prevailing Filipino psyche of using traffic as an excuse must be changed.  That kind of state of mind that automatically uses traffic as an excuse, unnecessarily adds to the problem of traffic,” she said. “What the Secretary is asking, is a change of psyche, a platform of cooperation for citizens to be part of the solution, for Filipinos to simply be truthful.”

For its part, the Inquirer said it is standing by its story; saying it even asked him to clarify what he meant when he uttered his remark on Tuesday during the launch of a premium bus service in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“The Inquirer stands by its story pertaining to the Secretary’s remarks which were part of his speech and which he later confirmed and even repeated in a chance interview when he was asked to clarify his statement,” the daily said.