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Bicol-wide transport strike fizzles

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY -- Militant transport organizations in Bicol failed to launch on Monday a one-day regionwide strike after other groups in the six provinces decided not to support the protest action. Jessar Adornado, operation officer of the Office of Civil Defense, said the Albay Provincial Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) issued an advisory to the local chief executives to suspend classes in their cities and municipalities on their own discretion as preemptive security measure. “The cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao as well as Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Jovellar, Oas, Pio Duran, and Libon issued their respective advisories on Saturday suspending classes in all levels,” Adornado added. However, the towns of Rapu-rapu, Manito, Tiwi, Manlinao, and Bacacay did not suspend classes after transport groups in these areas refused to heed the strike call. Despite the transport strike, private and government offices across the region were open including banks, malls, and other commercial establishments. Buses plying Legazpi-Manila and vice-versa were allowed to ply their regular routes. Trimobiles in the cities of Legazpi, Ligao, Tabaco in Albay also carried passengers, who, however, complained about exorbitant fares being demanded by the drivers. Adornado said transport groups in the Camarines provinces, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate did not participate in the strike. In Albay, however, militant groups set up mass action centers in capital towns and cities across the province and kicked off their protest action at 12 midnight Sunday which lasted until midnight Monday. Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara deployed engineering trucks to ferry stranded passengers in the first district (Tiwi), third district (Polangui) and the Daraga-Legazpi routes. Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol went on full alert and set up police assistance centers to assist stranded commuters and prevent untoward incidents during the strike. No untoward incident has so far been reported as of press time.

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