THE Palace has suspended work in government offices and classes in all levels of public and private schools nationwide on Monday, Oct. 16, at the start of a two-day transport strike that some officials said were aimed at destabilizing the administration.
The Office of the Executive Secretary said Oct. 17, Tuesday, was not included in the suspension order, and said work in the private sector was subject to the discretion of employers.
The Supreme Court has also suspended work in all courts nationwide.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the suspension of work and classes was aimed at minimizing public inconvenience arising from the planned nationwide transportation strike, which has been called to protest a modernization program that would phase out old jeepneys and compel drivers to buy newer, more expensive models.
But the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Sunday it received reports that the transportation strike is meant to destabilize the government.”
“We are receiving reports that the transport strike tomorrow led by Piston will be supported by other left-leaning groups allegedly… to destabilize government. On the part of government we will be providing Kalayaan rides as well as private buses,” LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said in a text message to reporters.
The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) is set to hold the two-day strike nationwide beginning Monday to oppose the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, which they claim is a jeepney phaseout plan that would require the purchase of newer, more expensive models.
Among the groups supporting this week’s nationwide transport strike are Kadamay, Migrante, League of Filipino Students, and Kilusang Mayo Uno.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority earlier said that the strike will not paralyze the transport sector.
It added that it will deploy trucks, ambulances, and rescue teams on Monday and Tuesday to provide free rides and assistance to stranded commuters.
In Manila, Mayor Joseph Estrada placed the city’s emergency units on standby alert to assist commuters and motorists who might be affected by the strike.
Estrada said the city government will field trucks, ambulances and rescue teams on the days of the strike, as well as traffic and security personnel to help the public.
“While we are confident the transport strikes will not totally paralyze public transportation in the City of Manila, we still have to prepare,” Estrada said.
If the situation requires it, Estrada said, city hall and the Manila Police District have available vehicles to ferry stranded commuters.