Gov’t continues to downplay impact of weeklong jeepney strike

THE OPERATION of public utility vehicles in the Philippine capital region had normalized, the presidential palace said on Tuesday, the second day of a weeklong strike staged by traditional jeepney drivers and operators.  

Routes provided with free transportation were under normal operation and there were no reports of stranded passengers,the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a statement, citing a report from an inter-agency task force.  

The Metro Manila local government units and different government agencies have successfully assisted commuters affected by Mondays transport group strike, which authorities said, failed to cause major disruption in the metropolispublic transportation,the PCO said.  

A total of 130 vehicles from local governments and national government agencies had served almost 4,800 passengers, the palace said, citing a March 6 report from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).  

The MMDA said there were no reported incidents requiring emergency preparedness and asset deployment.  

The strike is in protest of the governments transport modernization plan, which involves the eventual phaseout of diesel-run jeepneys, which are minibus-like non-airconditioned vehicles.    

Jeepney drivers and operators are being required to consolidate into cooperatives or other similar groups to facilitate government assistance in the shift to modern units, including financing and alternative livelihood options.   

The protesting transport operators and drivers, however, want what they call a more just transition,noting the high cost of new vehicles without enough government subsidy, and potential job losses. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza