MMDA spox says transport groups’ strike ‘unsuccessful’
MANILA, Philippines – The transport strike staged by public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators on Monday was unsuccessful, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago.
Pialago said this is because the government will never allow protesters to hamper commuters, as those stranded have already been given alternatives.
“The transport groups’ basis of success is if they paralyzed institutions like schools and offices. Well, technically speaking that’s what they believe in, but for us, they were not successful, the government would never allow them to be successful,” she told INQUIRER.net.
She also insisted that transport groups cannot do this on a daily basis, because it would affect their source of livelihood.
“And let’s be real on this matter, they cannot do this everyday. So they cannot threaten the government; classes and work were suspended not to show that government is afraid of them, rather it is only out of concern for the commuters’ welfare,” Pialago explained.
“We don’t want people to gamble on commuting during strikes but it doesn’t mean they were successful. Inconveniencing commuters due to selfishness is never a measure of success,” she added.
On Monday morning, several members of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), and Stop and GO staged strikes all over Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.
The protests, they said, were against the government’s jeepney modernization plan, which would require 15 year old or older vehicles to comply with Euro 4 standards which requires less toxic emissions from an engine.
This forced some local government units to suspended work and classes in their area.
However, Pialago said that in areas with stranded passengers, the situation has been back to normal as early as 8:30 a.m. She also noted that the number of affected commuters was well below what was expected, due to the suspensions and government’s contingency measures
“It’s just like a Friday rush hour situation,” she said.
“We would be tapping city buses with adjusted routes to address the public’s needs. We are also working with local government units, who are using their police mobiles, ambulances, to assist commuters,” she added.
Pialago also defended the government’s jeepney modernization plan, asking drivers and operators to take a second look at their vehicles.
“Are the people comfortable in riding old and work PUVs? Aren’t you contributing to global warming for emitting dark, toxic emissions, while some of the jeepneys already have sharp edges, and have no proper seats?” she asked.
“I mean, can you call that convenient? The PUV modernization is reshaping it, rebuilding it, it’s just like renovating your vehicle for it to be convenient for people. Can they please look at their units if it is convenient, if it really does not need modernization?” she added. /je