LEGAZPI CITY: Various local government units (LGUs), colleges and universities suspended classes in all levels here on Monday as transport groups launched a Bicol-wide transport strike which coincided with President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address.
Affected were the provinces of in Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.
In Albay, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal first ordered classes suspension in all levels, both in private and public schools, after consultation with several universities and Department of Education officials here. But work in the public and private sectors continue.
Similarly, Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro and Ligao City Mayor Patty Gonzalez-Alsua, as well as several Albay mayors also ordered classes cancellation.
Following the earlier notice of the cancellation of classes in the three cities and several towns in the province, Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara also ordered classes suspension across the province over the massive transport strike by jeepney operators and drivers groups protesting the government’s proposed transport modernization program.
But Bichara’s first memorandum created confusion among the public, prompting him to issue a supplemental advisory stating that “following the advisory issued by some LGUs suspending classes in their jurisdictions, their orders are hereby respected.”
Quoting the Police intelligence report of a province-wide transport strike on Monday, Bichara said it indicated that not all areas in the province are affected since not all transport sectors were joining.
Among those that suspended classes were Aquinas University of Legazpi, Bicol University, Divine Word College of Legazpi and Ateneo de Naga University Pacol Campus.
In Sorsogon province, Gov. Robert Bobet Lee Rodrigueza gave LGUs discretion to suspend classes.
Rodrigueza also warned that only jeepneys can join the transport strike but not tricycles and buses. He also said that the provincial government will provide free rides to stranded passengers when needed.
Ramon Rescovilla, deputy secretary general of Concerned Drivers and Operators (Condor-Piston) in Bicol, said they were expecting at least 2,500 to 3,000 drivers of jeepneys, tricycle and passenger vans to join the strike in six Bicol provinces which started at midnight of June 23 until midnight of July 24.
Dan Balucio, Bayan Bicol spokesman said the transport strike was held in 78 mass action centers across the region.
The transport strike was quite successful in key Bicol cities but tricycle drivers and operators did not join.