Police peacefully approach this group of passenger jeepney drivers plying San Fernando-Malolos route for a peaceful conduct of protest rally during Monday kick-off of the weeklong March 6-12 public transport strike. Photo by the Bulacan police

CITY OF MALOLOS—Bulacan public transport groups did not join the Monday start of the weeklong March 6-12 Tigil Pasada as passenger jeepneys still rolled major Bulacan streets while a group of drivers together with cause-oriented groups including Bulacan State University (BulSU) students staged protest rallies.

In this capital city, modern and old traditional public utility vehicles plying Monumento-Meycauayan-Malolos-Calumpit were seen traversing and picking up passengers along the MacArthur highway.

Libreng Sakay provided by the Bulacan Provincial Government including that of from the Bulacan police also fetched workers and students after Gov. Daniel Fernando ordered the deployment of these support vehicles for would be stranded commuters.

The new passenger jeepney which continues to ply Calumpit-Meycauayan along the MacArthur highway in City of Malolos, Bulacan on Monday. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Bulacan Police Director Col. Relly Arnedo said in a report that some 50 Anakbayan and Kabataan members led by Althea Trinidad and Toby respectively including  STAND BulSU (Bulacan State University) students conducted a protest rally in Crossing Barangay Catmon in this city.

“We would like to inform the public that the protest rally, led by members of Anakbayan, Kabataan, and STAND BulSU, is currently ongoing in Crossing Barangay Catmon, Malolos City, Bulacan. The estimated crowd is 30 people, and the protest has been peaceful as of this report. We have identified the leaders of the groups, namely Althea Trinidad from Anakbayan and Toby from Kabataan,” the top rank Bulacan police said in his report.

Arnedo said his men also had a dialogue with another group of protesters– Malolos to San Fernando–United Calumpit Jitney Driver’s and Operator Association-MANIBELA Driver’s Association led by Augusto Boy Tenorio. The group staged a protest rally in Calumpit but whom they advised to conduct their protest peacefully, without harassing fellow drivers.

The Libreng Sakay vehicle along the MacArthur highway in City of Malolos, Bulacan on Monday. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Arnedo told NEWS CORE that they also warned them not to violate any law.

 Fernando has earlier assured residents of the continued operation of the public transport sector in the province after the Bulacan Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (BFJODA) earlier expressed commitment that it will not participate in the strike. 

Fernando also asked the Bulacan police to provide intensified police visibility patrols in major streets to help protect the jeepney drivers who did not participate in the strike. 

“Noong Biyernes ay nagkaroon po tayo ng pag-uusap kasama si Provincial Director PCol. Relly B. Arnedo. Atin pong inatas ang pagbibigay prayoridad sa kaligtasan ng mga drayber na patuloy pa ring papasada para sa mga mananakay na Bulakenyo. Poposte po ang ating kapulisan sa ating kakalsadahan upang matiyak po ang kapayapaan sa buong lalawigan sa buong panahon ng isang linggong transport strike na ito ng mga public utility vehicles,” (We had talk with Provincial Police Director Col. Relly Arnedo to give priority protection for the safety of our drivers who will continue to ply their routes for our fellow Bulakenyos. They will make themselves visible in our streets to ensure peace and order in this weeklong public utility vehicle strike), the governor said.

The old and traditional jeepney which continues to ply Calumpit-Meycauayan along the MacArthur highway in City of Malolos, Bulacan on Monday. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Arnedo said other than police visibilities, they also provided Libreng Sakay vehicles in major streets in the boundaries of Bulacan to Quezon City, Valenzuela City, Malabon including in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

Arnedo said Bulacan’s no participation in the strike is one hundred-percent except for the said about 100 jeepney drivers and cause-oriented groups who staged protest rallies.

The jeepney drivers have been protesting the phasing out of the old traditional Sarao passenger jeepneys in favor of the modern type of public transport under the public transport system modernization project of the national government.