President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has organized an Inter-Agency Monitoring Team (IAMT) in preparation for a weeklong transport strike starting on Monday, the Presidential Communications Office said.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority acting head Romando Artes said a meeting will be held today (Sunday) to “finalize emergency plans, prepositioning of assets and identifying transport routes that will be affected by the strike.”
“We will ensure that there will be a maximum deployment, including the NCRPO [National Capital Region Police Office], during the transport strike,” said MMDA general manager Procopio Lipana, head of the IAMT.
The government has consistently downplayed the strike threat, saying only six percent of jeepney drivers are joining the protest.
However, the MMDA, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippines will deploy over a hundred vehicles and mobilize personnel for crowd disturbance.
Meanwhile, local airlines urged passengers to allot at least four to five hours of travel time going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport during the strike.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said he is open to extending further the December 31 deadline for jeepney operators to consolidate or form a cooperative in compliance with the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.
“If we regularly discuss things and we see that meeting the December 31 deadline is not possible, we can extend it, right? That’s why discussing things is the answer to our problems,” Bautista said.
President Marcos has earlier said that he agrees with the jeepney modernization plan but noted that the program needs further study, including the timetable for its implementation.