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MANIBELA calls off meeting with Palace, says transport strike to push through

The planned transport strike on Monday, October 16, will push through as the transport group MANIBELA canceled its supposed meeting in Malacañang on Sunday afternoon, the group's president, Mar Valbuena, said.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Valbuena said he personally requested to cancel the meeting due to issues with certain people whom he called “corrupt.”

“May mga taong ayaw maayos ito at baka mabuking ang kanilang mga kalokohan. Tsaka ko na sasabihin [kung sino sila], malapit na. Mga corrupt talaga ito,” he said.

(There are people who don't want to fix this and maybe because it will make their bad practices known. I’ll name them soon. They are really corrupt.)

“‘Yun lang ang nabalitaan na may meeting, hinarang na. Sangkot siguro 'to sa anomalya. Kilala ko sila, binanggit sa’kin. Pero hindi ko muna sasabihin… Ako na nag-request na mag-cancel kung ganoon ang isyu nila,” he added.

(There was supposed to be a meeting, then it was blocked. Maybe they’re related to an anomaly. I know them, they were mentioned to me. But I won't name them yet... I'm the one who requested to cancel the meeting if that's their issue.)

Valbuena said that their supposed meeting in Malacañang was scheduled at 2 p.m.

GMA News Online contacted Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil for comment but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.

Valbuena said Saturday that anything is still possible, especially if they will be able to come up with an agreement with the government before Monday.

Asked until when the transport strike will be conducted, the MANIBELA president said, “Indefinite po ito, kung hanggang kailan siguro kami gutumin.”

(This is indefinite and may last until we get hungry.)

Valbuena said only their group will hold the nationwide transport strike starting Monday, which will be centered in Metro Manila.

“Marami nang nag-suspinde ng klase... Masakit man sa amin, pero ito lang ang alam naming gawin, tumigil-pasada, kasi ito ang lakas namin eh,” he added.

(Many have suspended classes... It hurts us, but a transport strike is the only thing we know how to do because transport service is our strength.)

The scheduled strike will take place in protest against the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) deadline for the consolidation of traditional jeepneys as part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Jeepney drivers and operators are required to join or form cooperatives under the PUV modernization program, which aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels until December 31, 2023.

Meanwhile, some local government units and schools canceled face-to-face classes and instead urged the conduct of online classes on Monday, in anticipation of the transport strike. —KG, GMA Integrated News