MANILA — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) would not recommend the suspension of classes for the transport strike to be staged by militant group PISTON on December 4-5 in protest of the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).
“As early as two days ago, we already conveyed our suggestion to the Office of the President that there is no need for a holiday on Monday and Tuesday as the JQRT is capable of handling the strikes. The students have already missed a lot of classes due to the previous holidays,” LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said in a television interview Friday.
The board is set to deploy a total of 22 buses to various parts of Metro Manila. Non-airconditioned buses will charge a PHP10 fare and air-conditioned buses PHP12.
The LTFRB official said they expect the transport strike would only cause minimal impact on public transportation.
“Based on the previous strikes by PISTON, they have never reached up to 1-2 percent of the total riding public in Metro Manila. Still the government is prepared for any worst case scenario,” Lizada said.
For its part, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will deploy government and private vehicles to ferry stranded commuters during next week’s planned transport stike, according to Assistant General Manager for Planning Jojo Garcia.
Staging areas will be set up at SM Marikina, Luneta Parade Ground in Manila, HK Town Plaza in Pasay City, Technohub and Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and MMDA parking area in Makati City.
Additional traffic personnel will also be deployed to assist commuters and manage traffic flow.
The agency’s vehicles, especially buses and trucks, will likewise be placed on standby along with emergency units, such as ambulances.
The Joint Quick Response Team (JQRT) — composed of the LTFRB, MMDA, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Public Works and Highways, Office of Transport Security will set its command and control base at the MMDA Metrobase in Makati City.
The PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will monitor areas where harassment and threats against drivers and operators who will not participate in the strike are reported. Enforcers of the MMDA and LTFRB will likewise be on the ground to monitor participants.
Earlier, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade directed the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel the franchises and licenses of PUV operators and drivers who would participate in the transport strike.
The PUVMP has gained the support of major transport groups namely the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO), Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburb Drivers Association Nationwide Inc., (PASANG MASDA), Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines (LTOP), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP) as well as the majority of provincial transport cooperatives nationwide.
The program requires jeepney units that are 15 years old to be replaced with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs and to be equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.