Transport strike fails to affect traffic

THE transport strike yesterday did not disrupt traffic in Cebu City, an official said.

Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations head Francisco Ouano told SunStar Cebu that none of the six Kaoshiung buses placed on standby by the City Government to ferry stranded passengers for free was used.

The movement of commuters in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu was also normal.

Glenn Antigua, chief for operations of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team), said Piston earlier promised to him that they would not paralyze public transportation.

Antigua estimated about 50 to 70 Piston members joined the activity, which they called a “transport caravan.”

The drivers and operators used 10 motorcycles and 15 public utility jeepneys during the activity.

The Piston transport caravan started in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia in Mandaue. It passed United Nations Ave. and crossed the Marcelo Fernan B. Bridge going to Lapu-Lapu City.

From there, they passed M.L. Quezon Highway in Lapu-Lapu, crossed the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, went straight to A.C. Cortes Ave. and made a left turn on M.C. Briones St. on their way to Cebu City.

“We prepared as early as Saturday. We called the Piston official to learn more about the activity,” Antigua said Cebuano.

Team monitored the situation as early as 6 a.m. yesterday. It did not receive any reports of stranded passengers.

Government-owned vehicles were on standby near the Mandaue City Hall, but these were not used.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Mario Napule, officer-in-charge of the City Traffic Management System (CTMS), said Piston members stayed about 10 to 15 minutes along M.L. Quezon Highway and used a megaphone to express their opposition to the jeepney phaseout.

Napule said there were two Ceres buses, a city government-owned bus and barangay vehicles that were prepared to transport passengers.

The Ceres buses left Lapu-Lapu at 11 a.m. after these were not used.

“Everything was normal here,” Napule said.

In Talisay City, traffic management officials reported that traffic was normal yesterday.

Almond dela Peña, head of the City of Talisay Traffic Operation Development Authority (CTTODA), told SunStar Cebu that since 5:30 a.m., commuter movement was not affected.

Dela Peña said they prepared two buses in case some jeepneys would join the caravan, but these were not used.

Greg Perez, Piston Cebu coordinator, told SunStar Cebu they had no intention of disrupting public transportation.

Perez and more than 200 jeepney drivers and protestors held a caravan from the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay and ended at the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory.

Jerika Teodorico, a songwriter living in Barangay Talamban, said she did not experience any difficulty in taking public transport yesterday.

She said the protest organized by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) was “counterproductive.”

Piston held the activity to highlight their opposition to the plan to phase out jeepneys that are 15 years old and above.

“They should instead find ways to improve and redefine their services to something that’s relevant to the public’s most current demands. If not, they will be stuck with their refusal to have competition on the transportation business,” Teodorico said.

Shem Abay, a music teacher, said transport groups and the government should reach an effective compromise to settle the issue.

“The government is only thinking of the good of its citizens. However, the citizens also include the drivers, who think that they are oppressed,” he said.
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