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MMDA downplays transport strike

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the apparent lack of public utility vehicles (PUV), particularly jeepneys, at certain periods yesterday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) downplayed anew the transport strike launched by progressive group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide.

“Piston failed to paralyze the transportation on their first day of strike,” MMDA acting Chairman Romando Artes said.

“We think that it might be just normal Monday morning rush hour foot traffic,” Artes said during a media briefing at the MMDA headquarters in Pasig City.

Despite the pronouncement, he said the MMDA and local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila deployed vehicles that carried stranded commuters.

The agency sent out buses, e-tricycles, coasters and vans to the following routes apparently affected by the transport strike: Tindalo-Project 2-Welcome Rotonda; Philcoa-Welcome Rotonda; Sucat-Baclaran; Alabang Viaduct-San Pedro, Laguna; Muntinlupa Alabang-Zapote; Sta. Ana Hub and Delpan-Tejeros.

As of 4:44 p.m., the MMDA reported 2,645 passengers rode a total of 686 “assets,” which could have included 104 rescue vehicles used for free rides.

In Manila, vehicles of the city disaster risk reduction and management office carried 53 stranded passengers on the Guadalupe-Amatista route and 69 others on the Quezon Boulevard-Cubao route.

A vehicle of the Manila Police District (MPD) also transported 105 commuters on the Quezon Boulevard-Cubao route.

At around noon, a dozen jeepneys lined up at the designated PUV loading and unloading area in front of the Kartilya ng Katipunan Shrine near the Manila city hall and waited for their turns to pick up commuters.

The city government earlier declared that in-person classes on all levels of public schools would push through yesterday, while some colleges and universities in the city announced that they would shift to online and asynchronous classes for up to three days during the transport strike.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III visited the MMDA’s command center and checked on activities during the