Police brace for transport strike
Some 5,000 police officers will secure major thoroughfares in Metro Manila on Monday during the planned transport strike of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston).
The Philippine National Police (PNP), through the Directorate of Logistics, will also deploy buses, trucks, and troop carriers to ferry commuters affected by the transport strike, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said.
The PNP chief, Director General Nicanor A Bartolome, earlier instructed local police commanders to hold a dialogue with leaders of Piston to coordinate the movement of its motorcades, marches and other mass actions.
“All Police Regional Offices, particularly in Luzon were directed to place their respective Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) contingent on the highest state of operational readiness to respond to any contingency,” Cruz said.
Piston earlier announced it was pushing through with its strike, saying the dialogue with President Benigno Aquino and other top government officials failed to address the transport sector’s woes.
Piston said the strike was in protest against the continued increase of fuel prices.
In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said they would no longer make any last-minute appeal to stop the strike.
“We’re ready,” Valte said over state-run dzRB when asked if there would be any appeal to dissuade public transport groups from pushing through with the strike.
But Valte reminded the participating groups that their franchises carry certain obligations against causing inconvenience to commuters.
She said the government had already prepared contingency measures to cope with strike.
Cruz assured the leaders and organizers of Monday’s transport strike of “maximum police assistance” by ground units to ensure there would be no disorder.
But he also cautioned mass action organizers and participants from resorting to coercion and violence in holding their activities.
“Any activity bordering on anarchy and violence will be addressed with the appropriate police action,” he said in a statement.
“Illegal assembly, obstruction of traffic, street bonfires, unruly behavior and coercion of unsympathetic drivers are specifically prohibited and will be dealt with accordingly,” Cruz said.
Several agencies, including the MMDA, also met on Friday to prepare measures to cope with the transport strike and to ensure it would not adversely affect traffic and the peace and order situation.
The MMDA has decided to lift the number coding scheme on Monday in anticipation of the strike.
Thus, vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 will be allowed on major roads, except in Makati City and Las Piñas.
The militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno yesterday threw its support behind the planned transport strike.
Elmer Labog, KMU chair, said that while Malacañang held a dialogue with transport groups, it failed to address their concerns.
“We therefore wholeheartedly support the Sept. 19 transport strike. We likewise declare a people’s protest on that day. We are calling on the drivers of public utility vehicles to join the transport strike,” Labog said.
He said the government should nationalize the oil industry, scrap the oil deregulation law, remove the 12 percent value added tax on oil products, and implement a P9-rollback in the price of oil. With reports from Norman Bordadora and Philip C. Tubeza