PNP estimates paralysis at 20 to 30 percent

As protesters stir, drivers, jeeps shaken, more LGUs declare "no suspension"

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With interviews and reports from Hannah A. Papasin, Lourdes Rae Antenor and Elian P. Quilisadio

BACOLOD CITY – Drivers were shaken, figuratively and jeepneys, literally, by anti transport modernization strikers wanting to achieve full transport paralysis here more than five hours after the untat biyahe kicked off.

"Everybody cannot be compelled to join the strike." Police Col. Henry Biñas, Bacolod city police chief | Photo by Lourdes Rae Antenor
“Everybody cannot be compelled to join the strike.” Police Col. Henry Biñas, Bacolod city police chief | Photo by Lourdes Rae Antenor

Seven hours after the transport strike kicked off, city police chief, Col. Henry Biñas estimated paralysis to be between a low of 20 to a high of 30 percent.

Among those “harassed and intimidated” by drivers who did not take part in their protest today was Renzy Soliguen, a known transport operator based in Pontevedra town.

Soliguen is one of the co-founders of UNDOC.

In Cadiz City, Mayor Salvador Escalante declared on the city’s social media page that there will be no suspension of work and classes at all levels.

The first city to declare a “no suspension” was Victorias City.

Here, acting mayor El Cid Familiaran had already declared last week a suspension of classes in all levels, citing the “security and convenience of students” as a reason.

Soliguen, ironically, is one of the founders of UNDOC.

Marchie Ochia, chairman of the United Negros Transport Cooperative (UNETCO) told DNX at least four of their members were prevented from passing through two chokepoints – one at the Alijis Road-Araneta intersection, and the other at the Araneta-Magsaysay junction.

They were driving Euro 4 jeepneys owned by the cooperative.

One of the rallyists, interviewed live by broadcast journalist Adrian Bobe over GMA News’ One Western Visayas, insisted that the modern jeepneys.

“This is an insult to us,” the visibly irked, bespectacled rallyist wearing a black fedora hat told Bobe.

Aside from the insult the agitated protester added the 15 modern jeepneys were not covered by government franchises and could not ply any route in the city.

Ochia, however, said they do not necessarily need a franchise as they were giving free rides. “We informed (Office of Transportation Cooperatives) chair Medel Afalla about this.”

Cleto Jaro, one of the UNETCO members, said the rallyists placed stones under the tires of the jeepneys. Some of them also banged the sides.

“That’s what is usually done to those who don’t join strikes,” he said.

“I know because I used to be one of them.”

Reacting to the incident, Binas said
“Everybody cannot be compelled to join the strike, Biñas said.

In fact, he says, his office welcomes complaints from drivers who have experienced harassment from transport groups and forcing them to join.

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