Commuters from Mandaue City board a truck to get a ride going to Cebu City as PISTON-Cebu joins the nationwide transport strike.
The Freeman News
Government offers free rides during transport strike
Kristian Javier ( - February 27, 2017 - 11:54pm
MANILA, Philippines — Several government agencies are offering free rides to commuters stranded by a transport strike.
Last Saturday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board announced that the Joint Quick Response Team composed of the LTFRB, Department of Transportation, and the Metropolitan Manila Development will provide free rides using government vehicles.
The MMDA also lifted number coding on other public utility vehicles.
In a separate statement, the LTFRB called on interested operators of UV Express, city buses, and inter-regional/provincial buses to assist in transporting stranded commuters.
The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) and the Stop and Go Coalition on Monday held a transport strike in relation to the planned 'phasing out' of jeepneys 15 years or older.
Classes are suspended in elementary and secondary schools in affected areas, while some colleges in Manila opted to cancel classes due to the transport strike.
LTFRB member and spokesperson lawyer  Aileen Lizada said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda" that they are doing their best to address transportation problems.
"Kami ho sa Department of Transportation and other agencies, we are doing our best po para hindi ho maapektuhan yung mga ibang passengers sa affected routes po ng Piston and Stop and Go," Lizada said.
On Sunday, Lizada said in a statement that 51 government vehicles will be on standby to transport stranded passengers.
The LTFRB, MMDA, Coast Guard and the Department of Public Works and Highways had deployed more than 100 buses, trucks, and service vehicles as of 4 a.m. on Monday, according to LTFRB.
She also clarified that the government is pursuing a modernization of the public transport system and not simply phasing out jeepneys.
Lizada said that all other major transportation groups support the modernization plan, except for PISTON and Stop and Go.
She also warned the two groups that operators who participated in the strike will have their franchises suspended or cancelled.
She also warned drivers that the LTFRB can recommend the blacklisting, cancelation or suspension of the drivers' licenses of those who joined the strike.
Lizada also assured the operators that the LTFRB will be with them through the modernization.
"Hindi ho sila pababayaan. Hindi rin ho sila hahayaan for the modernization program which has a transition period of three years. This will not happen overnight. Aalalayan po sila ng gobyerno," Lizada said.


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