THE government is set to provide free rides to commuters today amid the planned transport strike of militant transport groups protesting the government’s move to phase out jeepneys.
The free rides and special trips will be provided under the guidance of the government’s Joint Quick Response Team composed of the Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), among other agencies.
The MMDA also announced it will lift number-coding restrictions for public utility vehicles.
Militant transport groups Piston, Stop and Go Coalition, and the No to Jeepney Phase Out Coalition are set to begin a series of transport strikes all over the country to protest the government’s plan to phase out jeepneys.
They are also opposing the new requirement of P7 million in minimum capital for jeepney operators and a minimum 10 units for each franchise.
In an interview over radio station dzBB, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada however said jeepneys won’t be driven out of the streets.
“If they are removed, I will quit,” Lizada said.
According to Piston, allied transport groups from Cagayan, Isabela, Baguio City, Laguna, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Leyte, Cagayan de Oro City, Bukidnon and General Santos City will participate in the strike.
The strike will begin at 6:00 AM with the Monumento Circle in Caloocan City serving as the main protest center.
At 11:00 a.m., the transport groups will gather at the Quezon City Elliptical Road in front of the National Housing Authority. They will proceed to Mendiola to continue their demonstration.
Earlier, the LTFRB invited interested transport operators to assist in transporting passengers expected to be stranded because of the strike.
Malacañang on Sunday suspended Monday classes in elementary and secondary levels, private and public in all areas affected by the strike.
Makati City earlier announced that all classes would be suspended today in public schools. Legazpi City in Albay suspended classes in all elementary and secondary schools.
The following schools also suspended classes and office work: De La Salle University (Taft, Bonifacio Global City and Makati campuses), College of Saint Benilde, University of Santo Tomas, Adamson University and the College of San Agustin in Iloilo.
Guadalupe Catholic School and Western Visayas State University suspended classes in all levels.
FRANCIS EARL CUETO