Gov’t workers get free ride on 2-day strike

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It will be a regular working day for city and provincial government employees despite the scheduled transport strike on March 21 and 22 in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.

It is going to be business as usual at the Bacolod City Government Center when the transport sector will stage the ‘People’s Holiday’ to protest against  the spate of fuel price increases recently, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said in a statement.

“So as not to disrupt the LGU’s services to its constituents, your city government will observe regular office hours. The local government will also provide transport services to employees, who may be stranded as a result of the ‘People’s Holiday’,” Leonardia said.

He said the city government commiserates with the transport groups’ sentiments and disappointments. “We express our solidarity with you as you call on national agencies to provide some relief to an already difficult situation that is further compounded by the current health crisis.”

“We wish you a peaceful activity next week. And I reiterate my call for sobriety. Let us also show respect for other stakeholders, who may not join the protest action on Monday and Tuesday,” the mayor said.

Bacolod City Administrator, Atty. Joseph Edward Cuansing, said the city will deploy its vehicles to transport employees to and from the Bacolod Government Center. Employees are advised to communicate with their departments or units for guidance.

The City will also deploy its buses to transport those who will be stranded in various areas and they will be brought to their respective barangays, he added.

Atty. Rayfrando Diaz of the Provincial Administrator’s Office said he already tasked every department head to determine the number of employees who might be affected by the strike so that vehicles can be assigned to transport them to work.

The province will also deploy its buses to transport employees of the provincial government whose workplaces are outside of the Capitol area, like the hospital workers.

The two-day transport strike was decided last week by three major transport associations in Bacolod and Negros, after a unity forum supported by the church, urban poor, and members of multi-sectoral groups.

Transport leaders are demanding for the scrapping of the excise tax on fuel products and the abolition of the Oil Deregulation Law. | MML