YESTERDAY’S transport strike was described by the police as generally peaceful with the government providing free rides to commuters stranded in the streets due to lack of available public transportation.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said that the nationwide transport strike by jeepney drivers and operators protesting the phaseout of old commuter vehicles failed to paralyze transportation in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) local government units (LGUs), MMDA, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other concerned agencies had deployed enough number of vehicles including buses, trucks, and other available vehicles to service passengers in the metropolis.
As early as 8:30 a.m., the situation was back to normal after public utility jeeps were back in the streets except in some areas in the cities in northern part of Metro Manila where LGUs and other government concerned agencies offered free rides to stranded commuters.
As of 4 p.m., National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said the situation in the whole of the metropolis remained peaceful. In San Juan, local police chief, Colonel Jaime Santos said there was a generally peaceful situation as they conducted Oplan: Libreng Sakay to commuters in the city.
The MMDA said the transport strike did not cause any traffic gridlock in major roads in the metropolis after classes in all levels in many cities in Metro Manila were suspended.
MMDA Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago was quoted saying that the government will never let the transport strike become successful.
Drivers and operators belonging to Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide led by George San Mateo and Efren de Luna’s, Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (ACTO) staged a nationwide transport strike to protest the proposed phaseout of old jeepneys.
The protesters demanded that the government stop the planned jeepney modernization program, which requires 15 year old vehicles to be compliant with Euro 4 standards to cut off harmful emissions. Leaders of the protest groups claimed that around 240,000 jeepneys and 80,000 UV Express service vehicles will be affected by the plan.
With Edd Reyes