• Transport strike fails to disrupt traffic flow in regions

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    The transport caravan staged by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide (Piston) on Monday was hardly felt in the Visayas and Mindanao, at least in areas affected by the protest against the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

    In Cagayan de Oro City, local transport groups ignored the call of Solidarity of Transport Alliances in Region 10 to support a nationwide protest against the phase-out of 15-year-old public utility jeepneys (PUJs).

    Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, regional police command spokesman, said the transport situation in Northern Mindanao remaineds normal and buses and jeepneys plied their regular routes.

    Piston-Cebu coordinator Gregory Perez said they drew roughly 150 members and supporters but not enough to disrupt the flow of traffic in the city.

    Commuters in Bulacan were not totally affected by the transport strike as some jeepney drivers-operators took advantage of the opportunity and fielded their private vans, karatig (a jeepney variant) and tricycles.

    Local officials in the cities of Meycauayan, Malolos, San Jose del Monte and in the towns of Santa Maria, Marilao and San Miguel on Sunday and early on Monday suspended classes in both private and public schools.

    In Bataan, about 600 jeepney drivers and operators plying the route in the first district of Bataan joined the strike.
    Members of Balanga–Orani Drivers, Operators Association parked their jeepneys at the terminal along MacArthur Highway in Balanga City.

    Jobert Balana, chief of Balanga City Public Service Office, said the Metro Bataan Development Authority and the city government fielded 45 vehicles to offer free ride to commuters as early as 4 a.m.

    It was, however, a regular day for commuters and jeepney drivers in Tarlac, Rizal, Cavite and Lucena City in Quezon.

    It was a usual day for the Hacienda Luisita Jeepney Drivers and Operators Association in Tarlac that continued to transport commuters along the city’s main district and the vast Luisita Industrial Park area.

    No protest actions were reported in Binangonan, Angono, Antipolo, Teresa, Taytay and Cainta.

    Similarly, other than the usual morning traffic, public utility vehicles in Cavite traveled without interference going to Metro Manila.

    In Lucena, transport leader Freddie Bravo said they are willing to join the strike if they can see their National Capital Region (Metro Manila) counterparts joining solidly.

    FREDERICK SILVERIO, JERICA SANTOS, ERNIE B. ESCONDE, JERRY M. HERNANDEZ, GABRIELA G. BARON, ALYSSA CAMERINO AND BELLY M. OTORDOZ

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