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MMDA, NCR LGUs to offer free rides during transport strike

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Friday that it would provide affected commuters free rides during next week's expected transport strike.

“Sa pagpupulong kahapon ng Metro Manila Council (MMC), humingi ang aming Chairman, Attorney [Romando] Artes, ng imbentaryo ng assets ng LGUs at barangays na pwedeng gamitin pang libreng sakay o pag-augment ng public transportation kung may shortages po ng mga sasakyan,” MMDA spokesperson Melissa Carunungan said at the public briefing.

(During yesterday's Metro Manila Council meeting, our Chairman, Attorney Artes, asked for an inventory of LGU and barangay assets that could be used for free rides or to augment public transportation if there was a public transport shortage.)

Carunungan also said that the MMDA had communicated with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to consider ways to help commuters who would be affected by the week-long transport strike that would start on March 6.

As to whether the MMDA was prepared to accommodate all affected commuters, Carunungan said “May available assets ang Metro Manila kung kailangan i-augment ang public transportation, pero depende sa sitwasyon if ilan.”

(Metro Manila has available assets if public transportation needs to be augmented, but it will depend on the situation and the number of commuters.)

“Handa naman na po kami, pero hindi po namin ide-deploy agad unless may shortage po sa mga areas,” she said.

(We are ready, but we won't deploy immediately, unless there is a shortage in some areas.)

Carunungan also noted that the "Magnificent 7," or the largest transport groups in the country, and some Metro Manila Mayors had said several transport groups would not participate in the strike.

Moreover, the MMDA was eyeing the suspension of the number coding scheme in Metro Manila.

If the suspension would be week-long like the strike, she said it would depend on the situation.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the strike, the Quezon and Taguig City governments had crafted action plans to assist commuters who would be affected by the lack of public transportation.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city's Traffic and Transport Management Department (TTMD) would place QC Bus Service units on standby for possible deployment to areas including Cubao, Commonwealth Avenue, Welcome (Mabuhay) Rotonda, Novaliches Bayan, LTFRB, East Avenue, Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC), and Fairview.

Taguig City, meanwhile, would provide free rides from Bagumbayan to Cayetano Boulevard, Napindan to Cayetano Boulevard, Waterfun to Market-Market and vice versa, Waterfun to Gate-3 and vice versa, DOST to Market-Market and vice versa, BCDA Petron to Market-Market and vice versa, and Cayetano corner General Luna to Petron BCDA.

Last Tuesday, transport group Manibela said they would stage a transport strike from March 6 to 12 to protest the government's PUV Modernization Program. — DVM, GMA Integrated News