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Transport strike paralyzes 95% of Butuan City


BUTUAN CITY — Militant transport groups here claimed that Thursday's transport strike was a success, crippling 95 percent of the city's transport operations. Jun Montilla, spokesperson for the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON)-Butuan chapter, said their “Tigil-Pasada" was a 95-percent success, paralyzing transportation routes in 26 urban barangays. On the other hand, Supt. Joseph Boquiren, commander of the city’s police station 1, said “The strike was generally peaceful." He also agreed with Montilla’s claim that 95 percent of public transportation was paralyzed. The city’s eastbound public jeepneys, particularly going to Barangay Ampayon, did not ply their routes, according to Angelo Tello, president of the Butuan Eastbound Multicab Operators and Drivers Association (Bemoda). Tello said they joined the nationwide transportation strike led by PISTON to protest the surging fuel prices and to urge the government to repeal of the oil deregulation act. The Butuan Transport Federation Inc. (Butrafi), chaired by Willy Cubillas, also joined the daylong strike. Cubillas said tricycles, the city’s main mode of transportation, also kept off the streets. Montilla, however, admitted that big bus companies such as the Bachelor Express continued plying routes between Butuan City and other provinces in Caraga region. “We just sent an invitation letter to their Butuan office to join with us but they have not responded" he said. Other groups who joined the Tigil Pasada were Butuan Airport Public Transport Association led by Pedro Concha Jr., Butuan Motorized Tricycle Association headed by Roy Butawan. The transport group started their activity at 4 a.m. and assembled in major choke points which included the Libertad, west side barangay, junction of Montilla Blvd, J.C. Aquino Avenue and Ampayon. The city government fielded government-owned dump trucks to give free rides to stranded commuters to their destinations. Despite the strike, City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr said government transactions were not paralyzed. “I am happy that no untoward incident happened, they (Transport groups) have already expressed their sentiments and dramatized their demands", Amante said. — Alden Pantaleon/AYA/LBG, GMA News
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