In preparation for the planned transport strike by the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) on Monday, the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu will deploy trucks, buses and other vehicles to ferry commuters who may be stranded in the streets.
In Cebu City, Councilor Dave Tumulak said there will be at least 15 Kaohsiung buses on standby that will be fielded in areas where there are many stranded passengers. The Cebu City Transportation Office will be monitoring the situation on the streets on real time.
“We will prepare. We respect their rights if they want to hold a strike. But it does not mean we will sacrifice the welfare of our passengers. It’s the responsibility of the city to safeguard our passengers and commuters,” he said.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) will also deploy additional policemen to maintain peace and order and avert any possible violence that may occur.
The Mandaue City government is likewise prepared. The Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) will also field vehicles and personnel to monitor the situation on Monday.
Team head Glenn Antigua, however, said that they have not yet received any official information about the strike and that they still have to finalize their preparations.
“But usually during a transport strike, we will use our vehicles like L300, self-loader trucks and Kaohsiung buses to help the affected passengers,” he said.
In Lapu-Lapu City, government vehicles will be deployed to mitigate the effect of the transport strike on Monday.
“We have around five flatbed Elf trucks, two buses and some barangay vehicles available to transport stranded passengers,” said Andy Berame, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (LLCDRRMO).
He also said they will bring passengers from Lapu-Lapu City to Park Mall in Mandaue City and back, free of charge.
Security arrangements are still to be discussed by Mayor Paz Radaza and Supt. Rommel Cabagnot of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office.
According to Berame, jeepney drivers in Lapu-Lapu City do not usually join transport strikes, except those plying routes that go in and out of the city.
He said Piston does not have members in Lapu-Lapu City but merely sends their members to the city to ask help from the urban poor groups there.
Piston-Cebu president Greg Perez said the protest action on Monday is nationwide. It will start with a caravan in Mandaue City going to Lapu-Lapu City, then back to Mandaue and proceed to Cebu City and Talisay City, then back to Cebu City where the caravan will end with a rally in front of the office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
At least 250 drivers are expected to join the strike/protest rally which will be a whole-day activity.
The transport groups are protesting the phaseout of jeepneys over 10 years old. They see the phaseout as anti-poor and expect an increase in fare rates if its is implemented.
“Kung ato ni siyang tugutan, mga brand new man ni nga mga sakyanan nga gimugna, mao ni giingon karon nga maapektuhan gyud ang atong fare,” said Perez.
(If we let this happen, there will be brand new vehicles that will be used, and this will surely affect the current fare rates.