TRANSPORT groups all over the country called off the two-day transport strike set for today and tomorrow in answer to the request of Senator Grace Poe.
Instead, they will stage a caravan protest against the jeepney phaseout program.
Their decision came after Senator Grace Poe appealed to cancel their transport strike and instead sit down with the senators in a Senate hearing on Thursday, December 7, on the proposed jeepney modernization program.
Diego Malacad, secretary-general of United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (Undoc), said the National Government appealed because the transport strike would have an effect nationwide.
He said the caravan in Bacolod City will start from the old airport going to the Northbound Terminal, where they will hold a boodle fight.
The caravan will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Malacad said it will be a short caravan because they don’t want to disrupt public transport operations.
About 60 public utility vehicles will join the caravan, he said, adding that jeepneys will be covered in black cloth to “signify the death of transport industry in the country,” he said.
Transport groups are calling for a review of the modernization program of the government which seeks to phase out 15-year-old public utility jeepneys.
On Saturday, Poe said she will file a resolution urging the Senate committee on public services to meet with the transport agencies opposing the government's planned jeepney phaseout.
READ: Poe asks transport groups to call off nationwide strike
The senator said she understands that there are issues in the program that still needs to be examined by the transportation sector.
In a statement on Sunday, Poe reiterated her vow to look into the modernization program. "As I have committed, I will call a hearing to discuss with all the stakeholders issues confronting the transport sector, including the planned jeepney modernization program with the view of addressing their concerns," she said.
No suspension of classes, work
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in a statement Sunday, said there will be no suspension of classes and that work in all government offices in the city will go on as usual today.
Leonardia thanked the transport groups for not pushing through with the strike, while at the same time, emphasizing that the city government would have been ready to handle any eventuality.
Superintendent Luisito Acebuche, head of Bacolod Traffic Authority Office, and Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, officer-in-charge of Bacolod City Police Office, said they will provide motorcycle escorts to the caravan to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. (with reports from SunStar Philippines)