LTFRB identifies 13 routes affected by jeepney strike
MANILA, Philippines — The government is ready to deploy more than 1,000 vehicles and 9,000 cops as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has identified at least 13 transport routes that may be affected by the three-day strike by a group of public utility jeepneys starting Monday.
Several colleges and universities have also decided to shift to online classes starting today in anticipation of the scheduled transport disruption, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has advised on X (formerly Twitter) the suspension of the expanded number coding scheme in the metropolis.
LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialago on Sunday said the routes classified as “areas of concern” included:
- Pasig-Taguig via Maestrang Pinang in Tipas
- Pasig-Taguig via Pateros
- Pasig Market-Taguig via Bagong Calzada
- Guadalupe Market-L. Guinto via Pasig Line
- Shelter Ville-Novaliches via Camarin Road
- Deparo-Novaliches via Susano
- Paco-Sta. Mesa via Nagtahan
- NIA-NPC to Mindanao Avenue-Congressional
“In the event of a transport strike, rest assured that we are fully prepared to offer free rides to the public,” she said in a statement.
Part of the plan, she said, is to deploy some 250 vehicles across the National Capital Region that can serve up to 10,000 passengers per trip.
In an interview with radio station dzBB, Pialago said they have 20 prepositioned areas for the free rides, including Monumento, MMDA-Guadalupe, and Commonwealth Avenue.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City Police District on Sunday said it has mobilized 25 vehicles and a team of officers to assist affected commuters.
It added that free rides would be available at the following:
- Quirino Highway LTO to Quirino Hill Top
- Quezon Avenue to Muñoz
- Tandang Sora to Mindanao Avenue
- Novaliches Bayan to Mindanao Avenue corner Quirino Highway
- P. Tuazon Boulevard to 20th Avenue
- Edsa Kamias to Projects 2 and 3
- Ermin Garcia Street to Edsa
- Quezon Avenue to A. Roces and Borromeo Streets
- Gates 1 and 2 of Camp Aguinaldo to Quezon City Hall
- Commonwealth Avenue to corner Tandang Sora Avenue
Various local governments have announced that they would provide free rides to commuters.
Caloocan City Mayor Along Malapitan earlier announced that 70 rescue vehicles would be deployed in North and South Caloocan because of the strike.
Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna has also ordered vehicles of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau, Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, and Manila Police District to be ready for deployment at affected routes.
Muntinlupa City is also offering free rides at the following routes: Alabang Viaduct-Sucat, from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and RMT Tunasan-Alabang, South Station-Buencamino, South Station-Sucat, Biazon Road-Poblacion, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said around 900 vehicles were placed on standby nationwide to local government units that might be affected.
An estimated 9,000 cops would also be deployed for traffic assistance, checkpoints, and border controls, she said in a radio interview.
The strike set Nov. 20 to 23 and led by major transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) is in protest of the approaching Dec. 31 deadline for franchise consolidation applications under the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
Part of the PUV modernization program includes the nationwide phaseout of traditional jeepneys that have long been a major source of air pollution.
The group had warned that the franchise consolidation scheme “may result in the monopoly of a few big fleet managers or corporations” with the necessary capital to control PUV routes, effectively stripping small-time operators of their democratic control over their vehicles and livelihoods.
Piston sought the scrapping of the franchise consolidation requirement. It also wants those who previously complied to be allowed to withdraw their individual franchises.
It likewise demanded the restoration of the five-year franchises for all PUVs, financial aid to affected drivers and operators, and the implementation of a national industrialization program that is not “overly relying” on imported vehicles.
Pialago said the LTFRB and other attached transport agencies believed that the transport strike would not cripple public transportation, saying that 60 percent of transport groups supported the PUV modernization program.
Nevertheless, she said they could not relax and had to consider the daily plight of commuters.
“That’s why free rides will be immediately dispatched to give assistance to our riding public,” she noted.
She appealed to Piston to call off the strike while there was still time, adding that the LTFRB was open to hold a dialogue with them anytime.
Piston president Mody Floranda on Saturday maintained that his group’s planned three-day strike would push through despite the appeal from the LTFRB.
Moranda said some 100,000 Piston members, including local federations, have committed to participate in the transport strike.
Classes not canceled
In the City of Manila, among the schools that announced the suspension of face-to-face classes are Adamson University, Arellano University, De La Salle University, Mapua University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and the University of Santo Tomas.
Ateneo de Manila University, the University of the Philippines’ Diliman and Los Baños campuses, and Miriam College-Loyola Heights in Quezon City will also shift to remote learning starting Monday.
Far Eastern University (FEU) Manila and Makati, FEU High School, University of the East Manila and Caloocan, and all branches and campuses of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines will also shift to online classes.
However, classes will not be canceled at the basic education level, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Unless local government units announce cancellation and/or suspension of classes in their respective jurisdictions, schools shall hold classes without disruption,” DepEd said in a statement on Saturday.