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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Philippines: Marcos is concluding emergency arrangements for the March 6th transport collective stoppage.

The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reiterated on Saturday that it is prepared to deal with planned transport group strike on Monday as an inter-agency team is preparing contingencies to ease the impact of the disturbance.

The President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, organized an Inter-Agency Monitoring Team in preparation for the transport group strike on Monday.

During a press briefing at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Metrobase in Makati City, MMDA acting head Romando Artes, said the MMDA, with other agencies, will conduct a meeting on Sunday to finalize emergency plans, prepositioning of assets and identifying transport routes that will be affected by the strike.

Artes said the agency will assess the situation and decide whether to suspend the number coding scheme on the day of the transport group strike so that it will not interfere with the turn-around time of public transportation.

MMDA general manager Procopio Lipana, the head of the Inter-Agency Monitoring Team secretariat, said all concerned government agencies are appealing to those joining the strike not to proceed with their protest.

“We also warn them especially ‘yung mga magsasamantala kaya may Oplan Isnabero ‘yung ating LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) at saka ‘yung mga mag-o-overcharge sa mga pasahero kung makakaroon man ng transport strike,” Lipana said.

“Again, we will ensure that there will be a maximum deployment including the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) in the looming transport strike,” Lipana added.

The MMDA would set up a command center at its Metrobase to monitor the situation on major thoroughfares in the NCR with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which will assess the situation in different parts of Metro Manila.

The MMDA would also field 25 vehicles that could accommodate 1,200 passengers and more than 2,000 traffic enforcers to deal with Monday’s disturbance.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) also announced the deployment of around 60 vehicles to ferry passengers affected by the strike and also the mobilization of a substantial number of personnel for crowd disturbance management as well as those serving as reactionary support force.

The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in support of the PNP, are also deploying more than 100 personnel and 30 vehicles.

The DILG, which is also part of the monitoring team, will help monitor local government units, particularly Metro Manila’s inner routes.

Based on commitments with several transport organizations, the LTFRB reported that 94 percent of jeepney drivers said they are not joining the transport group strike.

On Wednesday, Marcos said the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) is necessary but its implementation needs more discussions among its stakeholders, particularly jeepney drivers groups.

The chief executive said while he sees the need to modernize public utility vehicles, proper program implementation is necessary.

According to reports, MANIBELA a transport and party-list group, is the only UV Express (UVE) transport organization that would stage the transport group strike in Metro Manila in protest of the LTFRB guidelines on the end of consolidation of the PUVMP. Presidential News Desk

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