(Updated) Malacañang on Tuesday, March 20, suspended classes at all levels in Metro Manila due to "actual" or "imminent" threats allegedly posed by some groups.
"In view of actual and/or imminent threats posed by some groups, we are suspending classes at all levels in Metro Manila effective today, March 20, to safeguard the safety of students," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.
Roque said suspension of classes outside Metro Manila is “left to the sound discretion of local government units.”
Roque did not mention the name of certain groups but the announcement came a day after Palace mulled a week-long suspension of classes in Metro Manila, "if and when Piston pushes through with its threat to continue its nationwide strike."
Transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) staged a nationwide transport strike on Monday, March 19, prompting Malacañang to also announce a class suspension in Manila on the same day.
Piston president George San Mateo, in a post on Facebook Tuesday, March 20, criticized Malacañang for the "deliberate and malicious" attempt to confuse the public. San Mateo said Piston is not holding any transport strike in the near future.
"Wala pong transport strike ngayon o sa mga susunod na araw o linggo," San Mateo said.
But Roque, in his latest remark, said President Rodrigo Duterte gave the directive to suspend classes "even with the slightest threat of a strike."
"The President has instructed that he will suspend classes even with the slightest threat of a strike to ensure the protection and well-being of students," he said.
"We reiterate that the government remains steadfast to modernize our public utility vehicles and will not be bullied or held hostage by some transport groups," Roque added. (SunStar Philippines)