NCRPO to give free rides during transport strike week

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

March 4, 2023, 2:00 pm

<p><em>(FIle photo)</em></p>

(FIle photo)

MANILA – The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will provide free rides to commuters next week covering different routes in Metro Manila, in anticipation of a transport strike.

Metro Manila top cop Maj. Gen. Edgar Allan Okubo ordered the five police districts and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) to launch its "Libreng Sakay" program from 1 a.m. on Monday onwards.

The five districts covered by the NCRPO are the Manila Police District, the Quezon City Police District, the Northern Police District, the Southern Police District, and the Eastern Police District.

Okubo also instructed the district directors and the RMFBs to account for their men to be deployed for safety and security purposes, and make an inventory of their mobility and logistical assets in anticipation of the weeklong strike.

He said a total of 10 vehicles – five Hino shuttle buses, one JAC minibus, two Isuzu trucks, and two Hino trucks – would be mobilized during the transport strike to ferry affected commuters all over the metropolis.

“This initiative aims to accommodate the needs of the public who will be greatly affected by the said transport strike. If necessary, all vehicles for patrol operations will be utilized for 'Libreng Sakay' too,” Okubo said in a statement on Saturday.

He added that a total of 4,356 NCRPO personnel would also be deployed to various areas of concern, particularly at passenger pick-up and drop-off points to respond to any adverse situation that may arise from any misunderstanding between the groups of drivers joining the strike and those who are not.

The deployment includes 700 Civil Disturbance Management contingents, 1,019 in major thoroughfares, 569 in transportation hubs/terminals, 582 in commercial areas, 611 in other places of convergence, and 875 Reactionary Standby Support Force personnel.

Okubo noted that the deployment would last until the termination of the transport strike and the situation has returned to normal.

"We wanted to ensure readiness to address all foreseeable circumstances and to immediately respond should our presence and assistance be necessary during the transport strike. Constant coordination with the LGUs (local government units) and other government agencies will be made to identify other concerns that are needed to be addressed on the ground," he said.

The five district chiefs were further directed by Okubo to coordinate with the LGUs in their respective jurisdictions to determine where the augmentation trucks, buses, and patrol vehicles would be deployed.

"Naiintindihan ng inyong kapulisan sa NCRPO ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng ating mga commuters dito sa Metro Manila, lalo pa ngayon na may isasagawang transport strike. Kung kaya't ang buong pwersa ng kapulisan ng NCRPO ay handang magpaabot ng tulong sa paraang aming makakayanan upang mabawasan ang hirap ng ating mga kababayang maaapektuhan ng nasabing transport strike sa susunod na linggo (The NCRPO understands the difficulties our commuters are going through here in Metro Manila, especially now that there will be a transport strike. The entire NCRPO is ready to extend help in any way we can to reduce the hardships faced by our countrymen who will be affected by next week’s transport strike),” he said.

On Feb. 20, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular 2023-013, which gave public utility vehicle (PUV) operators only until June 30, 2023 to operate via a provisional authority.

Last Monday, various transport groups announced their intention to suspend their nationwide operations for one week starting March 6 in protest of the LTFRB’s memorandum. (PNA)