July 23 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Philippine union of transport drivers Manibela has called a three-day strike that begins this Monday, in addition to the suspension of classes and the activity of public institutions in the Manila region decreed by the authorities due to the imminent arrival of the tropical storm ‘Egay’.
“At least 40,000 jeepney drivers will support the strike in Manila and 200,000 in the country as a whole,” according to the union’s president, Mar Valbuena, in statements to the newspaper ‘The Star’.
Valbuena has highlighted the decision of the Philippine Presidency to suspend classes and the activity of public institutions. “He shows that Malacañang (the presidential palace) does not despise the transport strike. They don’t say it directly, but Malacañang recognizes our strength,” he added.
The union official stressed that this order contradicts the statements of the president of the Land Transport Regulation Body, Teófilo Gaudiz III, who said that only 2,000 jeepney drivers would support the strike.
In addition, Valbuena has highlighted that the suspension of classes is due to the transport strike and not to the tropical storm ‘Egay’. “They are using the storm as an excuse, although there is still no consequence. Other times there have been floods in Manila without the suspension of classes,” he argued.
He has also denied that there will be pressure to join the strike. “It is not true. We have actually told our affiliates that if they cannot afford to strike they can continue working. We have many strategies that we are not going to reveal,” he stressed.
Valbuena recalled that they have been in contact with the authorities for five months “but in this time we have not achieved any response or concrete measures” and has criticized the authorities for wanting to end the traditional jeepneys and their cooperatives.