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PNP to field 5,000 cops for transport strike

Some 5,000 Philippine National Police personnel will be deployed in Metro Manila to ensure peace and order during a transport strike by militant transport groups on Monday. The PNP Directorate for Logistics also assured the availability of police buses, trucks, and troop carriers to help commuters affected by the strike. "All Police Regional Offices, particularly in Luzon were directed to place their respective Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) contingent on the highest state of operational readiness to respond to any contingency," the PNP said in a news release. For their part, other government agencies have set up "Oplan Grasshopper," a coordinated tactic to minimize the impact of the strike on the public. Government agencies in Oplan Grasshopper include the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Transportation and Communications, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office, PNP Metro Manila office, and Armed Forces of the Philippines, radio dzBB reported Saturday. The dzBB report said Oplan Grasshopper will particularly watch out for drivers and operators intimidating other drivers still plying their routes. It quoted MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino as saying those caught in the intimidation tactics will face to the law. Dialogue PNP chief Deputy Director General Nicanor Bartolome earlier instructed local police commanders to hold dialogues with transport group leaders. Bartolome ordered them to keep lines of communication open for effective coordination of the movement of motorcades and marchers and other mass actions. For his part, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. assured transport strike leaders and organizers of assistance by police ground units to ensure the peaceful and orderly protest activities. But he said violations of the law during the protest activities will be dealt with accordingly. These include illegal assembly, obstruction of traffic, street bonfires, unruly behavior and coercion of unsympathetic drivers. “Any activity bordering on anarchy and violence will be addressed with the appropriate police action," he said. — LBG, GMA News