MMDA notes ‘minimal effect’ of transport strike
MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Monday’s kick-off of the week-long transport strike had “minimal effect” on commuters.
According to MMDA Acting Chairperson Romando Artes, this was because the government could immediately come up with contingency measures to meet daily travelers’ needs.
“The President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, organized this Inter-Agency Monitoring Team in response to the transport strike. Because of the unified efforts of concerned agencies, we were able to prepare and address the needs of the riding public,” he said in a statement.
“Ahead of the transport strike, assets were pre-positioned, contingency plans were in place, and routes that would be affected by the strike were identified,” he added.
READ: Jeepney phaseout: It’s more than just new vehicles
Artes also claimed that only a few public transport drivers joined the strike. He said road activities and situations on the ground were closely monitored at the Inter-Agency Task Force Monitoring Team’s command center of the MMDA.
MMDA General Manager Undersecretary Procopio Lipana disclosed that only 88 of the 1,680 vehicles prepared by the national government and local government units in Metro Manila were utilized to transport commuters affected by the strike.
“Only 5 percent of our assets have been utilized and catered to 3,584 passengers,” he reported.
Transport strike Day 1: Peaceful
During a Monday press briefing with the MMDA, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Operations Officer Col. Roman Arugay declared that the first day of the week-long transport strike was peaceful.
“No major untoward incidents were reported except for minor ones, such as PUV drivers who held demonstrations, protesters who obstructed streets, and coerced PUV drivers to join the protest. No injuries or harm occurred. No arrest has been made,” he said.
Organizations of public transport drivers and operators under the coalition Manibela launched a strike on March 6 to state their firm opposition to the government’s planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys.
READ: Week-long transport strike on March 6 will continue, says Manibela
Department of Transportation Undersecretary Mark Pastor said they remain open to dialogue with transport groups regarding the public utility vehicle modernization program.
“We want to hear the concerns of the transport groups and what we can do about it. Let us reiterate that there will be no phaseout of jeepney units,” Pastor said.
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