QC ready to assist commuters in next week’s transport strike

By Marita Moaje

March 3, 2023, 5:01 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Quezon City government is putting in place several action plans to assist commuters and students that may be affected by the planned transport strike scheduled to start on Monday.

“Kahit may ilang grupo nang nagsabi na hindi sila sasali sa strike, minabuti na rin namin na handa ang pamahalaang lungsod para tumugon sa ating mga commuters (Even if some groups have already said that they will not join the strike, we in the city government decided to still prepare to assist our commuters),” Belmonte said in a press release issued Friday.

Belmonte said the city government will be placing the city’s bus service units on standby for possible deployment to areas where a high number of commuters may be stranded in the weeklong transport strike.

“I have instructed the TTMD (Traffic and Transport Management Department) to prepare our buses for possible deployment to help our commuters. Makatutulong ang ating mga Q City Bus para mapagaan ang epekto ng transport strike (Our Q City buses will help ease the effect of the transport strike),” she said.

Among the areas identified where commuters normally converge to wait for public utility vehicles include Cubao, Commonwealth Avenue, Welcome (Mabuhay) Rotonda, Novaliches Bayan, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), East Avenue, Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) and Fairview Area.

Monitoring of areas where a high volume of passengers may converge will also be monitored by the TTMD and the Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS).

Meanwhile, Belmonte has also directed all villages through the Barangay and Community Relations Department (BCRD), to make use of their barangay vehicles in cases needed, to provide free rides in their respective areas of responsibility.

She has also asked the Quezon City Schools Division Office to conduct and implement asynchronous or online classes throughout the week and encouraged businesses to allow work-from-home arrangements for their employees if possible.

“This is doable given the tablets issued by the city government to public school students. Private schools can also implement online classes upon their discretion,” she said.

Belmonte added that locations of protest rallies of drivers and operators within the city will also be monitored.

For its part, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said that they would also deploy personnel in critical areas to maintain order in the communities and guarantee the safety of the riding public, especially of PUV drivers who decided not to participate in the strike.

 Free rides in Manila

The City of Manila will also be providing free rides to commuters starting Monday in response to the planned transport strike.

In a statement, Mayor Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan announced that various vehicles will be deployed to assist possible stranded passengers throughout the duration of the transport strike.

Under Oplan: Libreng Sakay, the Manila local government unit (LGU) will deploy 10 buses, 17 pick-ups, 3 trucks, 2 transporters, and 1 command unit in various point from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The vehicles will be plying the following routes:

Vito Cruz Taft Avenue to Quezon Blvd.; Espana Blvd to Welcome Rotonda;

Abad Santos Avenue to R. Papa Rizal Avenue and vice versa;

UN Taft Ave to R. Papa Rizal Avenue and vice versa;

Recto Ave to SM Sta Mesa and vice versa;

UN Taft Ave to P. Ocampo St. and vice versa;

Monumento Rizal Ave to Divisoria and vice versa;

Buendia Taft Ave to Divisoria and vice versa;

Buendia Taft Ave to Monumento Rizal Ave and vice versa;

Buendia Taft Ave to Welcome Rotonda and vice versa.

Also, e-trikes will be available for free transportation along secondary roads in the city.

Lacuna said she will personally oversee and monitor the deployment of these vehicles on Monday morning, starting at the Kartilya ng Katipunan.

The project is in coordination with the Manila Police District (MPD), Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB), and the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office (MDRRMO).

Several transport groups said they are pushing through with their planned week-long transport strike to protest the national government’s PUV Modernization Program despite the extension of the proposed deadline for their consolidation.

Initially, PUV operators were given until June 30, 2023, to form into cooperatives, but the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board on Wednesday extended the deadline to Dec. 31, 2023.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has earlier said that he agrees with the jeepney modernization plan, but however noted that the program needs further study, including the timetable for its implementation. (PNA)