Palace says there is no disruption in transpo amid groups' strike
Malacañang said Monday that there has been no disruption in the transportation except in some routes in the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the transport strike.
Citing reports from the Department of Transportation, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine National Police, the Palace said the government has provided free rides for commuters affected by the transport strike.
It said that the EDSA Busway Carousel has not been affected by any transport strike activity as of 10 a.m., adding that its operation has been "running smoothly with a low passenger volume observed at all stations."
According to the Palace, police personnel have also facilitated the ferrying of affected passengers from Almar Subdivision in Caloocan to Quezon City. Authorities also deployed vehicles to cater to passengers on the Dapitan to Baclaran route, it added.
Meanwhile, the government also prepositioned buses for free rides in Pasay City, Marikina City, Caloocan City, as well as in Quezon City.
On the other hand, the EDSA Busway is still operating normally as of 7:15 a.m., with moderate to heavy volume of passengers at southbound from north sector stations, MCU and Roosevelt.
Authorities said this heavy volume of passengers has been addressed, adding that they have sufficient buses on the ground to transport stranded passengers.
The Palace also mentioned that around 30 passengers were stranded at SM-Crossing Calamba Terminal in Calamba, Laguna at 6 a.m. It, however, said jeepneys plying the Calamba-Biñan route are in normal operation, including the modern jeeps traversing the Calamba-Pacita Complex route.
Meanwhile, Speaker Martin Romualdez said the Office of the President and the House of Representatives jointly provided 100 buses to ply commuters in the face of the transport strike.
"Through the joint effort of the House of Representatives and Malacañang, we have fielded 100 buses to augment the number of vehicles provided by local governments and other government agencies that would provide free rides to affected commuters," Romualdez said.
"It’s our commuters who would suffer the most from this transport strike. Cognizant of their difficult situation, have taken this joint initiative with Malacañang to ensure stranded commuters will have available rides to their work or home," he added.
Citing the MMDA's report, Romualdez said the first batch of 46 buses were deployed in the following routes:
- Baclaran –Dapitan
- SM Sangandaan-Divisoria
- Zobel-Roxas-Dulo (Sta. Ana)
- DOST Bicutan-Sucat
- Alabang-San Pedro
- Philcoa-TM Kalaw
The week-long transport strike pushed through as groups called for the suspension of the implementation of the guidelines for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said last week that the government would talk with transport groups to discuss the PUV modernization program.
While acknowledging that the modernization is not urgent, Marcos said it is still necessary.
Transport group PISTON on Monday called on Marcos to suspend the implementation of the guidelines for the PUV modernization program.
The PUV modernization program aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels. Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises, but as part of transport cooperatives.
The LTFRB has extended the June 30 deadline for jeepney operators to form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., for his part, said they have traveled noon time from España to Quezon Avenue and then East Avenue, noting that they only saw one traditional jeepney plying the route.
"How can the LTFRB and MMDA say that the strike has no effect?" he asked in a separate statement.
Reyes also asked for Marcos' response to the demands to stop the traditional jeepney phase-out and scrap the deadline at the end of the year
"The ball is in his court and he has the authority to revoke the DOTr department order. Will he speak out now?" Reyes said. — with Llanesca T. Panti/KG/RSJ, GMA Integrated News