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MMDA: Group formed to handle transport strikes

An inter-agency body has been created by President Benigno Aquino III to deal with transport strikes and mass actions, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has said. President Aquino issued Memorandum Circular 18 dated September 14 creating the Presidential Task Force on Transport Strike and Mass Action (TRASMA), the MMDA said. “Task Force TRASMA’s authority includes provision of alternative transportation, logistical support, maintenance of peace and order, security to non-participating transport groups/ individuals and apprehension and filing of charges for violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations relative to the conduct of transport strikes," it said in an article posted on its website. TRASMA will “take charge of government actions and responses on transport strikes and similar incidents," it added. MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino was tasked to head and act as Aquino’s personal representative to the inter-agency. Under Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 18, TRASMA members include the Secretaries of Interior and Local Government, Transportation and Communications, Public Works and Highways, Education, Culture and Sports, Labor and Employment and Trade and Industry. It also includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, the Philippine National Police Director-General, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board Chairman, the Land Transportation Office Assistant Secretary and the Commissioner on Higher Education. In the case of last Monday’s transport strike, the MMDA was tasked to immediately convene the task force to work on detailed actions and contingency plans to address issues and concerns in the event of a transport strike in Metro Manila. MC 18 was signed in time for the transport strike last Monday. — LBG, GMA News