Classes in Quezon City, San Juan suspended-A A +A
Monday, November 15, 2010
MANILA (Updated 12:11 p.m.) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) suspended classes in Quezon City and San Juan City as bus operators went on strike Monday.
In a radio report, the DepEd suspended the afternoon and night classes in both private and public schools in the mentioned areas directly hit by the transport strike staged against the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) number coding scheme.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), in its latest situation report Monday, recorded 8,500 passengers stranded in the metropolis following the strike.
Of the figure, 5,000 are reported by the Quezon City Police and 2,000 from the East Police District.
More than 600 passengers were stranded in Pasay City, 700 in Paranaque, and 200 in Muntinlupa.
These stranded passengers are mostly along Edsa from Caloocan to Alabang area.
Radio reports said that more than 3,000 buses plying Metro Manila took part in the strike.
Among the groups that participate in the protest were the Inter-City Bus Operators Association, Integrated Metropolitan Bus Operators Association, the South Luzon Bus Operators Association (Soluboa), and the Metro Bus Transport Club Inc.
In Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, bus operators started holding a strike as early as 5 a.m.
Many schoolchildren and workers were forced to wait on streets as it took hard for them to access transportation.
In SM Fairview, the Philippine Army has deployed vehicles to offer a free ride to stranded passengers as only few buses were on operation.
Traffic congestion at Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City also worsened due to the transport strike. Passengers were reportedly pushing each other to occupy a seat in a bus plying their respective destinations.
To alleviate the situation, the Philippine Navy deployed around 7 a.m. vehicles to assist the passengers and offered a free ride.
In Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), vehicles and trains were also crowded because of many passengers trying to secure a seat.
The MMDA re-implemented the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) starting Monday to address the perennial traffic problem in the capital.
Under the number coding scheme, buses that have license plates ending in 1 and 2 are not allowed to ply Edsa on Mondays; 3 and 4 on Tuesdays; 5 and 6 on Wednesdays; 7 and 8 on Thursdays; and 9 and 0 on Fridays.
The agency threatened the operators to suspend the franchise of the buses that will sabotage the implementation of the UVVRP or the number coding scheme.
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino earlier said the agency will deploy some 1,800 traffic enforcers in major thoroughfares and entry points of Metro Manila.
Informative signages were already installed in South and North Luzon Expressways to advise the public on the number coding.
Tolentino said they have already secured the support of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) for the drive.
NCRPO Director Nicanor Bartolome also said they will deploy policemen to augment the MMDA traffic enforcers while HPG director Leonardo Espina said motorcycle units will also assist in the traffic management.
According to the MMDA, abandoned buses in major thoroughfares will be towed to its impounding area at White Plains in Quezon City.
For its part, Malacañang asked the bus companies to exercise restraint as the government throws its full support on the number coding scheme.
"We want them to cooperate on the issue. However, let's wait for the implementation of the program before we pass on judgments or opinions," said Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)