Calabarzon, Bicol brace for transport stoppage | Inquirer News

Calabarzon, Bicol brace for transport stoppage

/ 04:35 AM March 06, 2023

LUCENA CITY—many local governments in Luzon have decided to suspend in-person classes starting on Monday to spare the riding public, particularly students and school staff, from getting stranded should the public utility vehicle (PUV) stoppage affect their towns and cities.

Among the regions in Luzon, only the transport groups in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) have declared full participation in the weeklong strike that would begin on Monday.

Those in Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales) and the Bicol regions (Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes) said between 70 percent to 90 percent of jeepney drivers and operators opted not to take part in the protest against the phaseout of traditional PUVs.


Vince Casilihan, information officer of Bayan Bicol, said on Saturday that about 500 PUVs would be joining the strike in Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Norte.


In the Cordillera, the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas assured residents their members won’t be joining the strike.

Seven transport organizations also gave a similar assurance in Baguio City, but Mayor Benjamin Magalong ordered standby vehicles to be at a ready in case some operators attempt to freeze transport services on Monday, according to the city public information office.

No schools in the summer capital nor in the region have suspended classes as of Sunday.

In Northern Mindanao, PUV cooperatives in the region composed of the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Camiguin and the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan said they would not be taking part in the planned weeklong nationwide transport strike.

“We are not a part of any transport strike. Our member-cooperatives have already made a commitment not to join the strike,” said Luzminda Escobidal, Northern Mindanao Federation of Transport Service Cooperative (Nomfedtrasco) chief executive officer.

Escobidal said Nomfedtrasco, with 50 member-cooperatives operating in the region’s five provinces, is satisfied with the implementation of the Department of Transportation’s PUV modernization program and that there is no reason for them to join the strike.


Back to online classes

In Cavite, Gov. Jonvic Remulla on Saturday suspended classes in all levels in private and public schools from March 6 to March 12, anticipating that the strike would “severely paralyze public transportation in the province… and cause inconvenience to the commuting public, including students, school personnel, and parents and guardians.”

In Isabela province, the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna-Isabela Campus in Cauayan City announced a shift to online classes from March 6 to March 8.

In Laguna, the University of the Philippines Los Baños also suspended in-person classes and shifted back to remote teaching due to the weeklong jeepney strike while Mayor Roseller Rizal of Calamba City directed all schools in the city to shift to online mode of teaching from March 6 to March 10.

‘Libreng sakay’

In Laguna’s Santa Rosa City, in-person classes will only be suspended in public preschools up to junior high school while senior high school students can avail of the free transportation to be provided by the local government to go to school, said Mayor Arlene Arcillas on Sunday.

Rescue trucks and other local government vehicles were also readied by the local governments of Cainta in Rizal, Carmona in Cavite and Cabuyao City in Laguna to provide “Libreng Sakay” or free rides to stranded commuters.

Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon of Angono, Rizal, encouraged private businesses and establishments to allow their employees to work from home during the duration of the transport strike.

Not joining

In Bicol, 70 percent of the transport groups in the region would continue to serve the riding public while those in Camarines Sur would fully operate, said Alex Bañares, president of the Regional Cluster Organization on Public Utilities.

“The modernization/rationalization program of the government is actually okay, some are just afraid of change,” Bañares told the Inquirer on Sunday.

About 23 modern jeepneys have been plying the route between Legazpi and Tabaco cities in Albay since Dec. 20, 2020, said Bañares, who chairs the Tabaco-Legazpi Transport Cooperative.

Albay Gov. Edcel Greco Lagman still issued an advisory on Sunday asking all private and public schools in the province to shift to online classes for the duration of the strike.

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Arnulfo Mascariñas, the president of Legazpi-based Bicol University (BU), also issued a memorandum on Friday saying BU would allow flexible learning but it may be terminated earlier, depending on the situation in the province.

TAGS: jeepney phaseout, transport strike

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