MANILA, Philippines – Despite appeal from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) not to pursue with the transport strike, several drivers and operators opted to stop operations on Monday (September 30).
Some members of major transport groups including Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO), Stop and Go Coalition, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) and some UV Express groups staged a nationwide strike in opposition to the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
The protest has affected thousands of commuters across the country.
In Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has designated staging areas where passengers may take augmentation rides or city buses to their destination.
MMDA Traffic Chief Edison ‘Bong’ Nebrija in an interview with Kuya Daniel Razon’s Digital Interactive Broadcast (DIB) on Monday warned protesting drivers and operators not to stop those drivers who still prefer to be of service to the commuters.
“Huwag nilang gagamitin ang pangho-hostage sa ating mga commuters para iparating ang kanilang hinaing, (Do not use our commuters as hostages to air your grievances,)” Nebrija said.
“Kung susubukan ninyong harangan ang mga drivers na gustong magserbisyo, magdalawang isip kayo. Huhulihin kayo ng mga pulis, (If you try to block drivers who want to pick up and be of service to the passengers, think twice. There are police authorities to apprehend you,)” he added.
Nebrija also clarified that the number coding scheme is lifted only for city buses but not to private vehicles.
He called on the riding public to go to the nearest staging area to catch the city buses that the agency prepared as augmentation vehicles for the duration of the massive transport strike.
The staging areas, Nebrija said, are as follow:
- Manila North area – EDSA Southbound lane in Monumento, opposite of MCU (around 40 buses)
- Manila East – SM Marikina
- Manila West – Luneta Parade Ground
- Manila South – Southwest Interim Provincial Terminal along Macapagal Road, Pasay City
- UP Techno Hub
- MMDA Headquarters
- Novaliches near S&R
- MRT North station southbound
“Ang mga local governments nag-dispatch din ng mga libreng sakay within their areas para malaking tulong. Sila na po ang bahala sa mga inner roads, (Local governments also dispatched free rides within their areas which is a big help. They will manage the inner roads,)” Nebrija concluded.