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Group claims ‘almost 100 percent’ transport paralysis in Laguna

/ 03:16 PM September 30, 2019

SAN PEDRO CITY — Protesting jeepney drivers claimed paralyzing traffic by “almost 100 percent” in key cities in Laguna and elsewhere in Southern Tagalog during the Monday morning’s rush hour.

Elmer Portea of the Southern Tagalog Region Transport Organization, an affiliate of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide, said several jeepney drivers participated in the national transport strike that urged the government to scrap its jeepney modernization plan.

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He said drivers and operators have only until June 2020 before their franchises are revoked unless they upgrade to modern but expensive vehicles.

In Laguna, where jeepneys are major public transportation, traffic was paralyzed in the first and second districts of the province or from this city up to Los Baños town.

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Many jeepneys from San Pablo City, where key terminals are located, also joined the protest.

At one point in Biñan City, Portea said members of the city Public Order and Safety Offce and of the police’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit had to intervene in the protest “and confiscated my driver’s license.”

He said he eventually got his license back after some negotiation.

“We do stop or block (other jeepneys) but only to explain to them and to their passengers why we are doing this,” Portea said in a phone interview.

But in San Pablo City, there were reports from residents of striker throwing rocks at other jeepneys, who attempted to pick up passengers.

In Sta. Rosa City, the city government deployed vehicles and modern jeepney units for free rides to commuters affected by the strike.

Several local government units in Laguna, Quezon, and Rizal canceled Monday’s classes. Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla suspended classes in the entire province.

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Shortly before noon, Portea said the strike was a success and that they had established chokepoints or protest points in Laguna and Cavite provinces. /kga

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