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Security forces on red alert ahead of transport strike

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By Joel Guinto, Thea Alberto, Alcuin Papa, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 12:32:00 03/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Security forces in Metro Manila went on red alert Monday ahead of a planned transport strike in the capital, officials said.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will go on red alert starting at 6 p.m. Monday, on the eve of a transport strike in the capital, a spokesman for the command said.

With the alert raised, the Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) would be placed on standby to augment the National NCRPO should it request for reinforcement, said Captain Carlo Ferrer.

A full alert means all of the 17,000 policemen in Metro Manila will have to stay at their post at all times while military unites are required to report to their commanders. All leave passes are cancelled.

Major transport groups like FEDJODAP, MJODAP, and PASANG MASDA will hold a transport holiday Tuesday to denounce the ticketing policies of local government units. The groups expect a 100 percent paralysis of transportation in Metro Manila.

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Avelino Razon said other regions in the country will however maintain a normal alert status.

“The PNP joint staff recommended that we maintain our normal alert (outside of Metro Manila). It is the NCRPO only that will be on full alert,” he said.

Both the NCRCom and NCRPO will provide free ride on Tuesday, they said.

Razon said the PNP will deploy trucks, buses and Elf carriers as early as 5 a.m. to assist stranded passengers.

“All the PNP and AFP mobile assets combined will not be enough to fill the transport requirements of the commuting public, but certainly this will be of help,” Razon said.

NCRPO spokesman Superintendent Rhodel Sermonia said they would deploy 12 trucks, six from each of the five police districts in Metro Manila, 192 multicabs from the Quezon City Police District, and 28 multicabs from the Manila Police District.

He also said each police district will deploy 100 policemen as a standby force. The NCRPO will also deploy 200 policemen from the Regional Special Action Unit (RSAU).

Razon also said he has talked to Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon regarding the possibility of fielding the military’s own vehicles to assist stranded passengers.

Authorities will also monitor areas covered by the strike, Razon said.

He also warned strikers not to harass drivers and operators who would be plying their routes despite the strike declaration.

“We will enforce the law. It is against the law to coerce drivers if they don’t want to join the strike,” he said, adding authorities would enforce the “no permit, no rally” policy. Police would observe maximum tolerance, he said, and police in plain clothes will be deployed to monitor the situation.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-03-10T12:22:18+00:00UTC03bUTCMon, 10 Mar 2008 12:22:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm03

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