Jeepney drivers protest rally cripples Cebu City
March 17, 2009
|Photos courtesy of NADSU-PISTON|
Drivers' rally leaves
Drivers' protest rally
cripples work, school
CEBU, Philippines - Schools
and government offices were forced to suspend operations yesterday
afternoon owing to the protest action staged by drivers of public utility
At the courts, Regional Trial
Court Executive judge Meinrado Paredes ordered suspension of work by
virtue of Circular 110 of the Office of the Court Administrator, which
allows executive judges to suspend work in the afternoon for reason of a
The prosecutor’s office,
likewise, suspended work but continued conducting inquest proceedings
At the City Hall, Mayor Tomas
Osmeña provided Kaohsiong Buses to city government employees living in far
destinations in the north and south portions of the city.
Several schools also suspended
The provincial government
chose to continue operations but provided buses for employees of Capitol
at the end of the day.
Drivers went on a protest
rally yesterday to oppose the implementation of an Administrative Order of
the Department of Transportation and Communication that increased the
penalties for traffic violations.
Land Transportation Office
Regional Director Raul Aguilus said he understands the drivers’ position
but he could not do anything about it, as he was just implementing the
order from Manila.
Tabunok Barangay Captain
Manuel Cabriana had to deploy the barangay-owned mini-bus to ferry the
stranded students, office workers, salesclerks and market vendors.
Panagbenga 2009 blog
The number of stranded
passengers rose when most of the Tabunok passenger utility jeepneys (PUJ)
refused to ply their routes during the peak hours in the morning.
These commuters stayed for an
hour beneath the flyover in Tabunok and outside the Gaisano Grand Fiesta
The stretch on the Bulacao
highway was also crowded with stranded passengers waiting for a ride.
The lack of Tabunok-based PUJs
prompted others to cling to the rear exit of slow-moving multicabs that
came from Cebu’s southern towns.
Vegetable vendor Mina Galupo,
49, of Barangay Manipis, Talisay City, had to wait for more than hour
before she was able to ride in a PUJ.
With a sack of vegetables on
hand, she competed with other passengers that scampered for available
seats on a newly arrived PUJ beneath the overpass bridge.
Authorities noticed that some
drivers opted to stop plying their routes as their fellow drivers would
flag them down in Bulacao calling for their support.
The drivers joined the protest
due to the “exorbitant” traffic fines and penalties recently imposed by
the Land Transportation Office.
Lawyer Manuel Iway, a former
Land Transporation Franchising and Regulatory Board director, said he
supports the drivers, saying the new rates are excessive and that the LTO
does not have the authority to amend the old rates that were set by
Congress under Republic Act 3146 without a public hearing.
The Cebu City Police Office
(CCPO) was similarly caught off guard by the strike staged by the
transport group yesterday.
But as in the cities of
Talisay, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, no untoward incidents were reported in
Cebu City during the strike yesterday.
CCPO Director Patrocinio
Comendador said that as of Sunday, a team of crowd dispersal management
was on standby in anticipation of the transport group’s rally.
As of noon time, Comendador
said, about 60 percent of the transportation in the city was crippled.
He ordered the police
operatives to arrest the drivers or sympathizers who were caught harassing
the non-striking drivers.
For his part, Chief Insp.
Jovito Canlapan, Talisay City Police Station deputy chief, said they had
not monitored any untoward incident during the transport strike.
Although they had buses on
standby, Mandaue City was not affected by the strike, said Jomar Ostia
executive director of
Mandaue City Traffic
In Lapu-Lapu City, PUJs were
also plying their routes, said PO2 Jude Marifosque. (GC/JTG/OCP/ AIV)