MANILA – Around 600 drivers stopped operations in Metro Manila as of Monday afternoon, the first of a planned three-day transport strike in protest of the public utility vehicle modernization program.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said it deployed 48 vehicles to aid commuters, while “libreng sakay” (free ride) services of local government units and other state agencies cushioned the impact of the protest action.
NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. said they also have 56 reserved vehicles on standby while 5,080 personnel from the Civil Disturbance Management contingents and Reactionary Standby Support Force secured passenger pickup and dropoff points and transportation hubs.
“Sa kabuuan, mayroon tayong 602 personnel na idineploy sa mga border control point sa Metro Manila upang magsagawa ng checkpoints (We have 602 personnel deployed at border control points in Metro Manila to conduct checkpoints),” Nartatez said in a statement, adding no violence or hostilities were reported.
Members of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide are leading the protest.
The House of Representatives has joined forces with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to provide free rides to public commuters affected by the transport strike.
“The House of the People is always working in collaboration with the Marcos government through the MMDA to alleviate the inconvenience caused to commuters by the transport strike. We have taken this joint initiative to ensure that stranded commuters have available rides to their work or home,” Speaker Martin Romualdez said in a statement.
Romualdez commended MMDA acting chairman Romando Artes for working with his office in ensuring the continued accessibility of reliable public transportation services during this period of strike.
Artes said the MMDA and the House have deployed five buses since Monday to augment the number of vehicles provided by local governments and other agencies offering free rides to the affected commuters.
Artes said the five buses were deployed on the following routes: SUCAT-Baclaran, Pasig-Momumento-Quiapo, Philcoa-Doña carmen, Parañaque City to City Hall and Antipolo-Quiapo. (with a report from Zaldy De Layola)