MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang might announce a week-long class suspension in Metro Manila if transport groups would continue its threat to stage a nationwide strike.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is keen on calling off classes starting Tuesday, March 20, until Friday, March 23, despite describing the ongoing strike as “unsuccessful.”
Roque said local government unit heads might decide to declare class suspensions in their respective areas.
Despite the plan to suspend classes in Metro Manila, Roque said that the government remains committed to modernize the public utility vehicles.
“We see this as one of the long-term solutions to decongest our streets with dilapidated and smoke-belching jeepneys,” Roque said.
On Monday afternoon, the Office of the Executive Secretary also suspended classes in Metro Manila starting 2 p.m.
The Palace appeals for patience and understanding, especially to those commuters who were duly inconvenienced by the strike.
Transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or Piston is currently holding a strike to protest the government’s plan to phaseout jeepneys aged 15 years and older. Piston President George San Mateo said the group does not oppose the modernization of public utility vehicles, but added that operators and drivers could not afford to purchase new units.
The government earlier vowed to provide assistance to transport drivers and operators. It said that the modernization would be implemented to make vehicles environment-friendly to passengers.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Board Member Aileen Lizada earlier warned operators and jeepney drivers who are joining the transport strike that their licenses may be canceled.