Transport strike a success, say organizers
Organizers claimed success in a transport strike in provinces close to Metro Manila that was launched to protest continuing increases in oil prices and which, strike leaders said, was a preview of bigger protest actions.
Transport groups under the Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide) said public transportation routes in many parts of two regions—Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Bicol—were paralyzed.
The strike was successful in six provinces in Bicol, said Ramon Rescovilla, deputy secretary general of the Concerned Drivers and Operators for Reform (Condor) in Bicol.
The Bicol strike was peaceful except for an attack by communist guerrillas on a group of soldiers offering free rides to stranded commuters in an Albay town.
Rescovilla said as of 2 p.m. jeeps, vans, buses and tricycles stopped plying their routes in Albay, paralyzing at least 98 percent of transportation in the province. In Sorsogon, two major transport firms kept their buses grounded.
Organizers said 92 percent of transportation routes in Camarines Norte were paralyzed. It was 85 percent in Camarines Sur, said Rescovilla.
In Masbate, it was 95 percent but government officials in the province said the strike’s effects weren’t felt in the morning. Rescovilla said 85 percent of transportation routes in Catanduanes were paralyzed.
Colonel Arthur Ang, head of the 901st Army Brigade, said three scout rangers were wounded when rebels attacked them on the Maharlika Highway in Guinobatan, Albay, at about 6 a.m. Wednesday, just as the strike was starting.
The soldiers, Ang said, were in a military truck offering free rides to stranded commuters when they were attacked.
Classes in all levels in Albay were suspended but private and government offices across the region were open including banks, malls and other commercial establishments.
Organizers claimed 100 percent success in Calabarzon, the region nearest to Metro Manila. Rallies were also held in several Laguna towns in support of the transport strike.
Some stranded commuters complained about not being advised ahead of the transport strike. Reports from Mar Arguelles, Rey Nasol, Maricar Cinco and Jonas Cabiles Soltes
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