Manibela determined to continue strike following ‘success’ of first day

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — A transport group on Tuesday said it is determined to continue with the seven-day strike following its success on its first day.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena said the protests in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas will continue, noting that the groups will not do this for no valid reason.

“Successful po talaga 'yung strike kahapon dahil talagang 80% — hindi lamang dito sa NCR pati 'yung main cities sa mga province like Cebu, Angeles, Malolos, Bulacan, Dagupan, and Sta. Rosa, Laguna — talagang paralyzed,” he said.

[Translation: Yesterday's strike was successful at 80% — not only here in NCR, but also the main cities in provinces like Cebu, Angeles, Malolos, Bulacan, Dagupan, and Sta. Rosa, Laguna — were paralyzed.]

Several groups started their week-long, nationwide strike on Monday to oppose the phaseout of traditional jeepneys and the mandatory consolidation of franchises, which are part of the government’s PUV modernization program.

Valbuena said more than 40,000 PUVs in the NCR alone joined the protest.

While some government agencies said the first day of the strike did not affect public transportation, Valbuena said otherwise. He noted that the areas in Metro Manila that his group visited after Monday’s protests appeared like ghost towns.

Based on its assessment, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said the first day of the transport strike was generally peaceful. Its last tally showed that more than 20 groups participated in the protests, affecting 50 routes.

A total of 4,374 police officers from five police districts and 200 personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion along with 548 vehicles were deployed for security and safety operations in the capital region, the NCRPO added.

Philippine National Police spokesperson Jean Fajardo also told CNN Philippines’ The Source that Monday’s event was peaceful since there were no untoward incidents recorded. Commuters were also able to avail of the augmentation provided by various agencies and local government units, she added.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Procopio Lipana said the traffic situation in NCR on Monday was almost the same when compared to normal days when there are no strikes.

He noted around 1,266 people attended 314 pocket rallies across the region. Of the 1,680 vehicles deployed for augmentation, only 115 were utilized, he added.

No stranded passengers were also reported, Lipana said.