Students, workers in 3 Bicol provinces stranded in transport strike
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay — Groups of drivers and operators of public utility vehicles in Bicol said the transport strike on Monday paralyzed 93 percent of routes in three provinces in the region’s mainland on Monday.
Ramon Rescovilla, deputy secretary general of the Concerned Drivers and Operators (Condor-Piston) in Bicol said drivers of jeepneys and passenger vans plying routes in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte joined the strike, stranding commuters, most of them students and employees.
Rescovilla said about 80 percent of Condor-Piston Bicol’s 12,000 members joined the strike in three Bicol provinces.
Transport groups in the provinces of Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate did not join the strike, he said.
Tricycles in the cities of Legazpi, Ligao and Tabaco in Albay picked up passengers but many had complained about the steep fare asked by drivers.
The strikers demanded for the scrapping of a Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) order that would phase out passenger jeepneys at least 15 years old.
Rescovilla said the plan to phase out these jeepneys would affect their only means of livelihood.
Rescovilla, 48, said a driver earned only P400 to P500 a day after working for eight to 12 hours.
“What will happen to our family if this order will be implemented?” he asked.
“We will not give in and allow the phasing out of public utility jeepney. This is our life and our work is noble” he said.
School officials in Albay suspended classes in all levels in the province on Monday due to the strike. Despite the transport strike, private and government offices across the region, such as banks, shopping malls and other commercial establishments, were open.
Buses plying the Legazpi-Manila and vice-versa route continued their regular trips.
Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara had deployed government trucks to ferry stranded passengers in the towns of Tiwi and Polangui and those along the Daraga-Legazpi City route.
Brig. Gen. Claudio Yucot, commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, said the Civil Military Operation battalion has prepared several military trucks to offer commuters free ride.
Bichara also put the ambulance service of all towns and cities on standby as the strike progressed. The Bicol police went on full alert and set up police assistance centers to assist stranded commuters and prevent untoward incidents during the strike. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.