PUBLIC transport operations in Bacolod City return to normal Tuesday, June 6, after the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (Undoc) halted its two-day transport strike around 1 p.m. Monday.
Diego Malacad, secretary-general of Undoc, said they ended the strike after holding a dialogue with Bacolod City Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya.
He said they paralyzed only 70 percent of the public transportation from 4 a.m. Monday for lack of support from the Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Association and Sentrong Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Negros.
“One hundred percent of our members stopped operations,” he added.
Undoc was supposed to hold a transport strike from June 5 to 6 to oppose the proposed phase-out of public utility vehicles 15 years and older, and the implementation of House Bill 4334 or the proposed Traffic Crisis Act of 2016.
The bill was proposed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and Catanduanes Lone District Representative Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of committee on transportation.
Malacad said Gasataya assured them that Bacolod is not included in the implementation of the proposed bill.
“We are thankful to Congressman Gasataya for explaining to us that this bill will only be implemented in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao cities,” he said.
Section 2 of the bill declared the policy to adopt responsive, effective, and comprehensive measures that will immediately address the crisis brought about by land traffic congestion and gridlock and shortage of safe, secure, efficient: predictable, integrated, environmentally sound, people oriented, persons-with-disability accessible, and inclusive mass transportation in the Metropolitan Manila Area, Metropolitan Cebu, and Metropolitan Davao.
Malacad said that in previous months, they attended several public hearings with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, but they need an assurance that Bacolod is excluded from the implementation.
He said they are planning to submit a position paper asking a total assurance from the House of Representatives that there will be no phase-out and modernization of public utility vehicles in Negros Island Region.
Gasataya said he is thankful that Undoc ended the strike after their dialogue at his office located in Hi-Strip East.
“I’m happy that they understand the bill and it was already cleared to them that Bacolod is not included in the implementation of the Traffic Crisis Act,” he said.
Gasataya also explained to the Undoc members the pending bill on the phase-out of public utility vehicles 15 years and older.
He said he is willing to support the position paper of Undoc to protect the transport group in the Negros Island.
Meanwhile, Federico Guanzon Jr., supervising administrative officer of Mayor’s Office and head of Command Center, said the opening of classes, and operation of the offices, both private and public, were not affected by the transport strike.
He said the City Government provided free transportation for various barangays, but most of the units were not utilized because public transportation was not totally paralyzed.
“Undoc failed to paralyze the transport operation. It was generally peaceful,” he said.
Guanzon said some militants attempted to block public vehicles along Barangays Mandalagan and Alijis, but personnel of Bacolod City Police Office and Bacolod Traffic Authority Office responded immediately.