MEMBERS of transport groups rally along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on March 6, 2023. — PHILIPPINESTAR/WALTER BOLLOZOS

THE FIRST day of a week-long strike by traditional jeepney drivers and operators to protest a modernization plan did not cause major disruption in public transport services, government officials said on Monday.   

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it monitored only two routes in the capital region that were paralyzed. 

Based on our monitoring, two routes — Monumento to Malanday and Monumento to Navotas — were paralyzed,DoTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven C. Pastor said in mixed English and Filipino in an ambush interview on Monday morning.  

But for other routes, the operations remained normal and there is sufficient transport supply,he added. 

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III, for his part, said in a press briefing that only about 10% of jeepney owners joined the strike in Metro Manila, and 5% nationwide.  

Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, meanwhile, said the minimal impact of the strike is partly due to contingency measures implemented by both the national and local governments in affected areas.  

We deployed free rides using government assets in those areas,said Mr. Bautista.   

Local governments in major urban areas outside the capital region prepositioned vehicles to avoid commuters getting stranded.   

Mr. Pastor, in an interview with One Balita Pilipinas Monday afternoon, said there were no longer paralyzedareas anywhere in the country.

In fact, in regions 9, 10, 11, and 12, no one participated in the strike,Mr. Pastor said.    

He was referring to the regions of Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Soccsksargen, all in southern Philippines.   

The presidential palace said the EDSA Busway Carousel had not felt the strikes impact as of 10 a.m., with operations running smoothly with a low passenger volume observed at all stations.”  

It cited efforts from state agencies to manage the situation.  

Although Malacañang had downplayed the impact of the transport strike, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio maintained an earlier statement that the act poses threats to learning recovery efforts.  

We oppose it because it is problematic, it will hurt our learners, and the inconvenience that it may cause comes with an enormous price deleterious to learning recovery efforts and this is a price that learners will have to pay,she said in a statement on Monday. Justine Irish D. Tabile and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza