By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian threatened to file charges against those who joined the jeepney strike on Monday, leaving countless commuters stranded in the city.
The Valenzuela City Transport Alliance went on strike and staged a rally in front of the Valenzuela City Hall to protest the full-blown implementation of the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP).
“We will file cases against those that went on strike yesterday. They violated their franchises. We will file at the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) to revoke their franchises,” he said in a tweet.
Raynaldo Villanueva, president of the Valenzuela City Transport Alliance, said that instead of discouraging the transport groups, this only pushes them to organize more strikes and protests.
Earlier, the transport group members claimed that they were not invited to a public hearing for the city ordinance and that Gatchalian never met them when they sought to dialogue.
The city mayor, however, denied this and said he already met with Villanueva twice, including on Wednesday last week. Gatchalian also said that he has been talking to Villanueva about the NCAP as early as March this year.
Gatchalian also posted photos of members of the transport group seemingly attending the public hearing.
In a letter addressed to Gatchalian, the Valenzuela City Transport Alliance said they want to hold the implementation of NCAP, put it up for public consultation, and lower the fines for traffic violations.
They claimed that the fines for the traffic violations, ranging from P1,000 to up to P3,000, were too steep.
In response, Gatchalian said those who do not want to pay the fine must simply follow traffic rules and avoid committing violations.
“The city government has listened to them so many times already. I personally spoke with them. They do not want to listen. So you mean to tell me we just stop because a sector refuses? As far as we’re concerned, due process and fair play has been accorded to them already,” he said in a tweet.
“The greater good for the majority of the city cannot be hold hostage by the irrational demands of a few,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Valenzuela City government deployed about 30 vehicles to offer free rides to commuters amid threats of another jeepney strike.
Gatchalian said the local government will continue to offer free rides as long as there are threats of a jeepney strike.
READ MORE: Jeepney drivers stage strike in Valenzuela