By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

NO EFFECT. A traditional jeepney loads passengers on East Avenue in Quezon City on Monday (April 15, 2024). The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reported that the transport strike organized by two transport groups has so far not affected the commuting public. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday reported that the transport strike by two transport groups have so far not caused any significant effects on commuters.

In a televised interview over Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon, LTFRB Chair Teofilo Guadiz III said monitoring by personnel from the LTFRB, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and local government units (LGUs) during the morning rush hour have not found stranded commuters, or critical areas in need of rescue buses.

Tuloy tuloy po ang traffic, tuloy-tuloy ang pagsakay ng mga pasahero. Wala hong mahabang pila (Traffic is flowing, passengers are able to continuously board PUVs [public utility vehicles]. And there are no long queues),” Guadiz said.

While the same is expected during the evening rush hour, he noted that rescue buses remain on standby due to possible interference from the striking PUV operators.

Posible pong gawin ng mga hindi sumasangayon sa programa ng gobyerno ay bantaan, magtapon ng spike, o takutin yung mga ayaw mag-participate sa mga government programs (It’s possible that those who do not agree with the government’s program may throw spikes or intimidate working PUV drivers),” he said.

He noted that the strikers have gathered for a demonstration at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and have threatened to stop PUVs during the evening rush hour.

Earlier, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) reported that around 400 jeepney drivers and operators joined their protest at University Avenue in UP Diliman.

“So, we have rescue buses for these areas and naka-monitor yan and at a given signal any time, pupunta ang rescue buses with the Philippine National Police (and they’re monitoring the situation, and at a given signmal, we can dispatch rescue buses with the PNP at any given time),” Guadiz said.

He warned PUV operators that those who remain unconsolidated beyond the April 30 deadline will not be allowed to continue dispatching PUVs and will be issued a notice or a show cause order that may result in the revocation or suspension of their franchise.

Last week, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the April 30 deadline for the franchise consolidation of PUVs under the government’s transport modernization program would no longer be extended.

Hindi po agad hulihan yan. Bibigyan namin sila ng due process (We won’t immediately apprehend them. We will give them due process),” Guadiz said.

Piston was joined in the protest by Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela).

No significant incidents

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, said it has not monitored any untoward incident during the transport strike.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, said the situation especially in the streets of Metro Manila is normal.

“I’ve spoken to personnel of the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office), they said they have not monitored any stranded commuters,” she told reporters.

She said the striking drivers converged at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City and were supposed to march toward Mendiola in Manila.

Fajardo said the PNP has made available police vehicles to transport stranded people and coordinated with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to mitigate the effects of the transport strike.

“Our arrangement is that if there are stranded people in certain areas, vehicles of the PNP and of other concerned agencies are available to extend assistance,” she said. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)