DOTr: Free rides not a solution, but a tribute
MANILA, Philippines — All workers can avail of free train rides at the Light Rail Transit 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 in line with the celebration of Labor Day today, Monday.
According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), workers can avail the free rides from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. by just showing their company ID or government-issued ID to security personnel at train stations.
“The Libreng Sakay (Free Ride) is MRT-3’s simple way to show the line’s tribute to all the workers who support our country’s economy. May this bring them joy and a little comfort on their special day,” said Assistant Transportation Secretary Jorjette Aquino, who is also the MRT-3 officer in charge.
The DOTr said the initiative was offered after Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma asked Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista “to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the hardworking Filipino workers across the country.”
Laguesma noted that while the initiative is not a real solution to workers’ financial burdens, it would “recognize their significant contributions to nation-building and national development.”
May Day protests
“A significant number of job seekers and workers, who are daily commuters, are anticipated to attend and participate in Labor Day activities in the National Capital Region, as the main event site,” he said.
But many workers are also expected to join demonstrations organized by left-leaning labor organizations to protest the widening gap between real wage growth and price inflation.
The Philippine National Police said over the weekend that it would deploy close to 60,000 police personnel nationwide on Monday to ensure public safety on Labor Day.
The deployment of 59,587 cops will be “enough to ensure order and security in all places of engagement,” PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said in a statement on Sunday.
Police personnel are expected to secure planned protests by cause-oriented groups and Filipinos basking in the long weekend.
“The PNP will assist in all lawful and peaceful activities in commemoration of Labor Day,” he said.
Acorda reminded the police personnel to strictly observe maximum tolerance, respect human rights and adhere to police operational procedures. The PNP will be involved in traffic management, civil disturbance management, anticriminality and counterterrorism.
The PNP said it has coordinated with other government agencies to avoid untoward incidents.
Acorda likewise reminded the public to be vigilant and alert at all times, “as some groups may take advantage of the situation to foment chaos and violence.”
He urged the public to cooperate with the authorities and follow the security protocols in place during the celebration.