• Ateneo, La Salle, UST, and UP are just some of the universities going online next week
  • Manibela and other transport groups are staging a week-long transport strike
  • Transport groups want the LTFRB to extend the jeepney modernization deadline

Several schools and universities across the country have announced they will be conducting online classes from March 6 to 10, due to a nationwide strike organized by transport groups during the same period.

"An order suspending face-to-face classes in all levels in all private and public schools in Angeles City from March 6 to 10, 2023, and encouraging the conduct of modular classes for public schools and online classes for private schools in lieu of face-to-face classes to avoid disruptions in the academic calendar," Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. said in an executive order released on Friday.

The Ateneo de Manila University said in a Friday memo that the institution "recommends that onsite classes at all levels in all campuses be transitioned to online mode for the duration of the strike" if transport groups go ahead with their planned strike.

Likewise, Adamson University said it will utilize online modes of learning in the coming week if the transport strike ensues.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) said in an advisory that it will shift to online classes next week, while the De La Salle University, Manila, told CNN Philippines in a statement that it will conduct digital classes during the same period, irrespective of the strike.

Other universities that announced the shift to remote classes throughout the duration of the transport strike as of Friday morning are the University of the Philippines, La Salle Greenhills Campus, and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Transport group Manibela said in an interview on Wednesday that the strike, as first announced earlier in the week, will push through even as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) decided to extend the deadline of the jeepney modernization plan from June 30 to Dec. 31.

The LTFRB has also required traditional drivers and operators to become members of a cooperative to be part of the group that will benefit from the Dec. 31 deadline.

"I will only say one thing: the transport strike will push through," said chair of Manibela Mar Valbuena. Other smaller transport groups are also expected to join the strike.

Manibela previously said traditional drivers need five more years to completely modernize jeepneys in the country. Valbuena said the jeepney modernization plan was "suppressing" the rights of drivers.

The LTFRB initially set the deadline of modernizing jeepneys to the end of March nationwide. Metro Manila's franchise expiry was initially set to the end of April. The said deadlines were then extended through the end of June 2023, but Valbuena argued that drivers were already struggling with various operational costs.

Strike participants include drivers and operators from Cagayan de Oro, Bicol Region, Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Calabarzon, as per The Manila Times.

Valbuena also said strikers will only cancel their plan if the LTFRB either completely cancels its circular 2023-013, which states that only drivers and operators who join or create a cooperative before June 30 will be given a Dec. 31 deadline to modernize their vehicle units.

Philippines jeepneys
Traditional jeepneys in the Philippines. gloverbh222/Pixabay