MANILA (UPDATED) — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday said it is not suspending classes amid the expected massive transport strike next week.
"On the part of DepEd, there will be no suspension of classes," DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said.
Instead, he said those who won't be able to attend face-to-face classes in the week-long protest "should be allowed to continue learning through Alternative Delivery Modes," which include online classes and modules.
Many schools have announced that they are temporarily implementing online learning for most of the duration of the transport strike, which would run from March 6 to 12.
These include public elementary and high school classes in Quezon City.
The Quezon City government said it is up to private schools whether they would hold online classes for the week.
It will also provide free rides to passengers and add "Q City" buses in Cubao, Commonwealth Avenue, Welcome Rotonda, Novaliches Bayan, LTFRB, East Avenue, Quezon Memorial Circle, and Fairview.
The local government also tasked village officials to provide service vehicles, as well as increase visibility of personnel from the Traffic and Transport Management Department (TTMD), Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), and Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
About 40,000 jeepney and UV express drivers, under the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations, Manibela, and Piston, are reportedly expected to join the strike.
This is in protest of the planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys in favor of modern electric vehicles.
GOV'T PREPARES FOR STRIKE
In a public briefing, MMDA spokesperson Melissa Carunungan said the agency is willing to deploy several vehicles to help commuters affected by the transport strike across Metro Manila, but said this would still "depend on the situation."
Carunungan also assured the public that the so-called "Magnificent 7" or the biggest transport groups would not join the week-long strike next week.
She attributed this to the pronouncement of the LTFRB that they would extend until the end of this year transport operators' chance to join a cooperative. Joining a cooperative is essential so they could still operate their traditional jeepneys while waiting for their own modern unit.
"Dahil dito, mag-dedeploy ang MMDA at LGUs ng mga sasakyan depende sa sitwasyon ng bawat lugar. Handa na kami, pero hindi namin ide-deploy agad unless may shortage pa sa mga areas," she said.
Metro Manila cities also have enough assets if the need to deploy more vehicles arises, she said.
"Depende sa sitwasyon kung ilang sasakyan ang kailangang i-deploy dahil sa declaration ng 'Magnificent 7' and LGUs na hindi sila sasali," she added.
The MMDA has yet to decide on suspending the number coding scheme next week, she said.
Malacañang, for its part, said majority or "94 percent of jeepney drivers" will not join the strike.
During his meeting with government agencies on Friday, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra said contingency measures are in place to mitigate the effects of the transport strike.
Police will also deploy at least 41 transport vehicles to assist affected passengers, the Palace said.
—with reports from Rowegie Abanto, Jaehwa Bernardo and Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News
DepEd, Department of Education, transport strike, jeepney modernization, ANC promo