Group slams DepEd’s move not to suspend classes as transport strike looms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) – A teachers’ group has slammed the Department of Education’s (DepEd) decision not to suspend physical classes amid the looming transport strike next week, citing the difficulties awaiting the students and teachers who are commuting.

In a statement on Friday, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chairperson Vladimer Quetua said the DepEd's recent move “proves its insensitivity and obliviousness.”

“The already difficult public commute will surely be amplified and unbearable with the scheduled transport strike,” he said.

Some transport groups will hold a weeklong strike from March 6 to 12 to convince the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to suspend the phaseout of traditional jeepneys and UV Express vehicles.

Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena said around 40,000 traditional jeepneys and UV Express units from Metro Manila will join the transport strike.

READ: Jeepneys, UV express groups warn of nationwide strike vs. franchise consolidation

Several schools and offices have already announced that they will shift to online set-up from March 6 to 11 in anticipation of the impact of the transport strike.

READ: LIST: LGU, schools shift to online classes next week amid nationwide transport strike

But DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa clarified on Friday that there will be no suspension of classes.

“The Department of Education should be sensitive to the plight of commuting educators and students as well as jeepney drivers,” Quetua said. “If college students are expected to have a hard time coming to school on the days of the transport strike, what more for our much younger pupils?”

The group called on the DepEd to allow its regional and division offices to cancel classes in areas where public transportation will be affected by the strike.

CNN Philippines has reached out to the DepEd for comment.

Traditional jeepneys and UV Express operators and drivers oppose the mandatory consolidation of franchises under the jeepney modernization program.

They argued that the proposed modern jeepney is too expensive and the financial aid from the government is not enough.