THE Davao City Transportation and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) noted that around 60 percent of public utility vehicles (PUV) were in operation on Thursday, July 20, amid the transportation strike staged by Transmision-Piston.

Rhodelio Poliquit, CTTMO officer-in-charge, said that majority of Davao drivers opted not to participate in the strike during the morning peak hours, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Poliquit said this is based from the data of the Public Safety and Security Command Center.

Most of the Dabawenyos in social media accounts expressed that they did not experience any difficulty to commute yesterday despite the transport strike.

As a jeepney driver for six years, Rogelio Estopito, 43 years-old, chose not to participate in the transport strike because he does not believe that it will influence the government to cancel the modernization plan for public jeepneys.

Estopito said though the modernization has to be done if this will aid the traffic situation currently present in the country.

"It is really expensive but I believe that the government will not let us, the jeepney drivers, unguided," he said in vernacular.

Perfecto Luminos, a 26-year-old taxi driver, also said he did not participate because he saw the strike as an opportunity as there were less PUVs available for the commuters.

Some taxicabs continue their trip on thoroughfares despite the nationwide transport strike mounted on Thursday by the groups opposing the PUV modernization program of the government.

Venerando Paredes, a driver of the Blue Taxi, said most of the drivers of the Blue and Mabuhay taxi ply on the streets despite the transport strike to earn income. He added that the needs for their families matter most.

"Malaki-laki rin ang mawawala sa isang araw kung hindi ako kakayod. Meron akong pamilyang binubuhay. Mahalaga bawat sentimo na kinikita ko sa araw-araw, para sa pamilya ko," Paredes, in an interview, said.

Paredes also said there is nothing wrong about the plan of the government to modernize the PUV. He added that it is, in fact, for the common good. He added that he trust President Rodrigo Duterte on his decisions.

Dodo Somalinog, an individual taxi driver, also echoed the same response with Paredes. He said if he joins the protest his family will be starving, though he understands the concerns of the other taxi/jeepney drivers.

"Ni re-respeto ko naman yung kanilang gustong mangyari, pero hindi ibig sabihin niyan na isa-sakripisyo ko yung mga pangangailan ng aking pamilya. Bakit di nalang nila pagkatiwalaan ang ating pangulo," he added.

Somalinog said the president would not make any decision that is not good for everybody. He added that why not others would give him the chance to do the right thing.

Poliquit said that in line with the strike, about 30 buses were tapped for special trips. A total of 22 dump trucks from Davao City Engineer's Office were deployed to give free rides to people within Davao City including those who are in Calinan and Mintal. Some of these trucks were also assigned for loop service in downtown areas.

Poliquit said the bus and the trucks stayed until around 6 p.m. in case there are passengers who will be stranded.

He said that as of 1:18 p.m., Thursday, the traffic was back to normal.

Poliquit added that though many passengers were affected in the strike, it can be noted that there was a smooth flow of traffic with the absence of some PUJs.

"Naa man naapektuhan kay naa ma'y wala na-serve na pasahero, pero naa pud nakuha, nga kung wala pud sila gwapo pud ang dalan sa kalsada (There were those who were not served, but we gained smooth flow of traffic with the absence of PUJs)," he said.

Some private establishments and universities in the city provided vehicle assistance for commuters during the transport strike yesterday, July 20.

Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) fielded buses yesterday from Toril to Addu, Roxas Avenue and from Sasa-Buhangin-Bajada-ADDU Roxas Avenue between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

ADDU Executive Vice President Jeremy Eliab, in an interview, said the public transport was not paralyzed although students had difficulty getting a taxi or jeepney going to the southern areas. For northern part of the city, he said the public transport was functional.

He said he asked the unit heads in the university to make consideration for those who will be late for work and classes.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the transport strike should be taken as opportunity for the public to witness how the streets are like with less or no passenger jeepneys at all.

"This will also give us a chance to take a look into the plans of the government to develop our transportation system and come up with something that is responsive to the demands of the present time and the need of our growing population," he said.

Duterte-Carpio pointed out that crimes committed during the protest rallies will be absolutely not tolerated.

"We suggest that the protesters practice self-restraint in their actions," she said.

Transmission Piston Davao Region Chairman Charito Duranis, in a radio interview with DXDC RMN Davao 621 AM on Wednesday night, said almost 8,000 drivers were expected to participate in the city-wide transport strike from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday.

Increase in fare

Some commuters expressed their woes during the strike on Thursday.

Tina Matuod, a netizen, told SunStar Davao that during a strike she encountered a driver of a passenger jeepney going to Toril who raised the fare going to Puan.

Matuod said that she rode the PUJ from Ecoland having recently finished her daily duty as a call center agent.

"P8 pesos iyang tubo kay gadunol ko ug P20 gi-suklian rako ug 2. Nangutana pa ko ug ngano P2 iyang gihatag, ana siya P18 na daw ang pamasahe (The fare increased up to eight pesos, because I gave P20 and I was only given P2 pesos as change. When I asked why he only gave P2 as change, the driver told me that the fare is 18 pesos)," Matuod said.

Matuod was also puzzled if whether the increase of fares is a presidential proclamation or not.

Her route is from SM going to Puan where the fare is normally P10.

Aside from Matuod, many passengers also suffered delay from their work due to lack of public utility vehicles especially in Matina Crossing Area.