MANILA — An inter-agency team has been formed to make preparations for the weeklong transport strike next week, Malacañang said on Saturday.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), interior and defense departments, and the national police will be part of the Inter-Agency Monitoring Team organized by the Office of the Executive Secretary, a Palace statement read.
“The MMDA would set up a command center at its Metrobase to monitor the situation on major thoroughfares in the NCR with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which will assess the situation in different parts of Metro Manila,” the Presidential Communications Office said.
“The DILG, which is also part of the monitoring team, will help monitor local government units, particularly Metro Manila’s inner routes,” it added.
MMDA will field 25 vehicles that could serve around 1,200 passengers for their free rides, while over 2,000 traffic enforcers will also be deployed in anticipation of the strike.
Around 100 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense and 30 vehicles would also be deployed next week.
The national police, for its part, will send out 60 vehicles to help stranded passengers.
MMDA acting chairman Romando Artes encouraged the public to stay in their homes if they have nothing important to do next week.
“We assure the public that we are ready and our assets and resources are readily available for dispatch to areas where there are reported stranded commuters to not compete against those transport groups who will not be joining the strike,” Artes said during a briefing.
The MMDA head said they have yet to decide on suspending the number coding scheme next week.
A meeting will be scheduled on Sunday to “finalize emergency plans, prepositioning of assets and identifying transport routes that will be affected by the strike,” according to the Palace statement.
Thousands of drivers and operators from Manibela and Piston are reportedly going to join the strike from March 6 to 12 to express their disapproval of the jeepney phaseout, prompting several localities in the capital region to suspend classes.
Transport regulators and other groups, meanwhile, downplayed the weeklong strike, with LTFRB Technical Divison Chief Joel Bolano saying its impact would be minimal.
“Iyong effect nito medyo maliit. Bukod doon sa suporta, iyong nakakarami ng ating public transport ngayon, nakita naman po ninyo iyong ating mga lider at iyong pamamahala ng ating secretary ay palagay ko napakaliit na epekto nito para sa ating public transport,” Bolano said during a media forum in Quezon City.
“Bukod doon naghahanda naman po ang ating pamahalaan,” he added.