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MMDA belittles Manibela strike anew

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) belittled anew Manibela’s transport strike yesterday, saying it had “no effect” on public transportation.

No stranded passengers were recorded, acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes claimed.

At least 2,000 members of Manibela joined the first day of the three-day transport strike, protesting at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) office in Quezon City.

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III did not appear before the protesters, Manibela president Mar Valbuena told The STAR.

“We did not expect him to talk to us,” Valbuena said.

The MMDA has yet to discuss with the LTFRB, the Land Transportation Office and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on a mechanism to apprehend unconsolidated public utility jeepneys, Artes said.

A technical working group is expected to formulate penalties against colorum public utility vehicles starting this week, he added.

Artes earlier said the MMDA is not yet authorized to flag suspected colorum PUVs and the agency would await orders from the Department of Transportation.

In April, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Transportation and the MMDA formed a body against colorum vehicles.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos warned that violators could face fines of up to P1 million.

Meanwhile, a radio reporter claimed he was mobbed by some rallyists while covering the protest.

Val Gonzales of dzRH claimed that Manibela members ganged up and punched him.

Gonzales allegedly cursed protesters for causing heavy traffic.

“As a member of the media, he should not be biased and observe balance in his reporting. If he thinks we were causing traffic, we will understand that if he is a commuter, but he is supposed to report the protest,” Valbuena said.

“He provoked our members twice. We will file a case against him instead. He pushed the protesters and elbowed some of our members,” he added.

Charges will be filed against Manibela, dzRH station manager and vice president for legal Rudolf Steve Jularbal said in a statement.

PNP chief information officer Col. Jean Fajardo said they would assist Gonzales if he files a complaint.