MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Malacañang on Monday night took back its earlier announcement and said classes nationwide in all levels in public and private schools and government work under the executive branch will remain suspended Tuesday, October 17.
The Palace made the sudden turn-around, amid the continuation tomorrow of the 2-day strike of jeepney drivers, led by transport group Piston, to protest the government’s Public Utility Vehicle modernization program.
Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, quoting Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, said the government decided to suspend classes and government work for another day in consideration of the public’s health and safety, effectively taking back the government's earlier announcement that classes and government work will resume Tuesday.
Andanar said it was President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to suspend classes and work in offices under the executive branch.
Suspension of work in the private sector is not covered by the Palace announcement.
Work suspended in courts, Senate
The Supreme Court and the Senate also announced Monday night that work in all courts nationwide and in the upper chamber will also remain suspended Tuesday, October 17, due to possible accessibility concerns.
In an earlier statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said based on the assessment of the Joint Quick Response Team, the nationwide transport strike “barely affected” the riding public.
The Palace suspended work in government and classes in public schools today due to the protest.
The government’s earlier claim on the extent of the effect of the transport strike is contrary to those of Piston, which said its protest action today paralyzed as much as 90 percent of jeepney routes nationwide.
Piston has protested the government’s PUV modernization program, saying it will bury poor jeepney drivers and operators in debt if they will be forced to shift to brand new units of jeepney.