With the transport strike hardly ever felt in Metro Cebu especially in Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu cities, work and classes continue to be suspended after the Palace retracted its earlier statement of resuming work and classes today, the second day of the two-day nationwide transport strike.
Make-up classes for the suspension of classes, however, will have to be done.
Amaryllis Villarmia, public information officer of the Department of Education in Central Visayas, said all schools are directed to conduct make-up classes in lieu of the class suspensions.
But Villarmia said that it would be up to the respective principals or school directors when to hold the make-up classes.
“We give the school principals or directors the freedom to decide when to have the make-up classes. It is up to them. What is important is they need to tender make-up classes,” Villarmia told CDN over the phone.
The effects of yesterday’s transport strike organized by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), however, were hardly felt in Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu cities.
Disaster Risk Reduction officers in the three cities described the movement of traffic in their respective areas as normal.
They attributed this to local government units’ preparations with several buses and other vehicles ready to ferry stranded passengers, the no class and no work of government offices, and the non-participation of several transport groups in the strike.
In Lapu-Lapu, the city only deployed a bus to ferry passengers at 7 a.m. from the jeepney terminal at Barangay Pajo to SM Mall in Cebu City.
Andy Berame, head of Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said that traffic was normal in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday despite the strike.
Berame said that there was however a group from Piston staging a rally near the foot of the first Mandaue-Mactan bridge, which went on peacefully and was done by 9.a.m.
Berame attributed the failure of the transport strike to affect the city because transport groups in the city did not join the strike.
“Duna ta’y mga transport groups dinhi sa Lapu-Lapu pero wala moapil sa transport strike. Mao nga normal ra ang movement sa transportation dinhi,” said Berame.
(We have transport groups here in Lapu-Lapu, but they never joined the transport strike. That is why movement of traffic here was normal.)
The Lapu-Lapu City government has readied 10 vehicles to ferry stranded passengers in yesterday’s strike.
It was more or less the same situation in Mandaue City.
Felix Suico, head of Mandaue City’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said they have not monitored a volume of stranded passengers, and everything was almost normal.
“Wala man sab gud klase ug trabaho, mao nga wala kaayo pasahero,” said Suico. (There were no classes and government work, bringing it to have less passengers.)
Arnold Malig-on, team leader of the Mandaue Command Center, said that only 20 percent of the public utility jeepneys joined the strike.
Malig-on said that the city was ready for the strike and had put a Kaohsiung bus, a coaster, three L-300 vans as among the vehicles ready to be deployed to ferry any stranded passengers.
Piston Cebu chief
Gregorio Perez, Piston Cebu chapter president, said that their rally was not intended to cripple the transport sector, but they were there to express their sentiments about the planned phaseout of at least 15-year-old jeepneys and up.
He said that only 15 percent of the more than 300 members of the group in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu joined the strike.
Perez said this was because they did not require and would force their members to join the strike.
In Cebu City, there were only an estimated 150 Piston members, who joined the protest in Cebu City yesterday which was held in corner P. del Rosario Street and Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City.
Senior Supt. Joel Doria, Cebu City Police Office chief, said that the protest action was peaceful and the drivers were cooperative and their rally was well coordinated.
The strike was also not felt in Cebu City yesterday.
Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, said the city did not have to use its buses on standby since there were no passengers stranded yesterday.
“It was very peaceful. We did not see and feel like there was a transport strike because there were still a lot of PUJs (public utility jeepneys) that were on the road,” he said.
As early as 10 a.m., Tumulak said they already advised the Ceres buses on standby to not anymore wait since there were no reports of stranded passengers.
Aside from the city-owned Kaohsiung buses, the city government also rented 10 Ceres Buses, which were put on standby at the South Road Properties ready to be deployed to ferry any stranded passengers.
By today, classes and work are expected to resume with Tumulak saying, that Piston-Cebu has assured them that there are no more transport-related rallies or protests in Cebu City.