Gov’t downplays strike, says 5%-10% of PUJs joined

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MANILA — Malacañang yesterday stated that except for some Metro Manila routes, the operation of public utility vehicles (PUVs) remained normal despite the transport strike by some groups.

“There is no disruption except in a handful of routes in the National Capital Region amid the ongoing transport group strike,” the Palace said in a statement.

“The strike initiated by some transport groups has failed to disrupt the normal public transport operations particularly in Metro Manila and nearby areas, with the government efficiently responding to serve the commuting public affected by the disturbance on Monday,” Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a separate statement.

According to Malacañang, the government has enough personnel to assist commuters and has provided free rides to those affected by the strike.

Police personnel have ferried affected passengers from Almar Subdivision in Caloocan to Quezon City. The government has also deployed vehicles to serve passengers in the Dapitan-Baclaran route. Buses offering free rides were also prepositioned in Pasay, Marikina, Caloocan and Quezon City, the Palace said.

At least 11 PUV groups in Metro Manila have said they won’t support the weeklong transport strike led by Manibela.

Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Teofilo Guadiz said only five percent of the total members of various transport groups joined the strike.

“Many buses offered free rides but based on our assessment, there’s no need as based on our monitoring, only five percent all over the country participated in the strike. In Metro Manila, it’s about 10 percent,” Guadiz said, noting that aside from NCR, the strike was only felt in Region IV-A.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said he expects the weeklong transport strike to inflict little to no damage to the economy, although it has yet to project its impact in the coming days.

Bautista also said the strike failed to paralyze growth areas encircling Metro Manila, particularly Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna.

Around Metro Manila, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor said the strike injured just two routes: Monumento to Malanday and Monumento to Navotas. Some routes, on the other hand, were served by transport assets of both the local and national government.

On the other hand, Bautista said the government is evaluating the creation of bike lanes in areas outside Metro Manila in line with efforts to promote active modes of transport. For 2023, the Department of Transportation has received P700 million for the establishment of bike lanes.

“For the new bike lanes, we secured from the General Appropriations Act around P700 million,” Bautista said. “We are studying different areas not only in Metro Manila, but also in the provinces.”

Generally peaceful

Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force Monitoring Team reported their assessment during the first day of the weeklong transport strike in Makati on Monday.

According to MMDA acting Chairperson Don Artes, there were three incidents reported on the first day of the weeklong transport strike but was “generally peaceful.”

Artes believes that only a few transport groups joined in the strike, saying that public transport was not paralyzed by the protest. However, the MMDA chair said that they will still put their vehicles on standby.

The MMDA also announced that they will bring back the number coding scheme starting today, after observing heavy traffic on the first day of the jeepney strike.

The first day of the weeklong jeepney strike went generally peaceful in Calabarzon, with five police directors noting that “strike in their respective areas of jurisdiction are generally peaceful and under control.”

In Central Luzon, Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo, Police Regional Office-3 director said “no untoward incidents happened the region” as transport groups in Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan did not join the strike.

The Bulacan Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association and other jeepney transport groups in the province did not join the one-week nationwide transport strike, the Provincial Public Affairs Office reported.

In Zamboanga City, the Federation of Land Transportation of Zamboanga turned down calls to join the strike, saying it understands the repercussions this will bring to the riding public.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.