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MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang announced the suspension of classes in all levels in Metro Manila on Tuesday, March 20, “to safeguard the safety of students” in view of "the organized transport strike."
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement late Tuesday morning, even after transportation groups already said they would not continue their transportation strike that day.
“In view of actual and/or imminent threats posed by some groups, we are suspending classes at all levels in Metro Manila effective today, March 20, to safeguard the safety of students,” Roque said.
“Meanwhile, for those outside Metro Manila, we leave the decision to suspend classes to the sound discretion of local government units (LGUs),” he added.
Roque said that the class suspension is based on the instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The President has instructed that he will suspend classes even with the slightest threat of a strike to ensure the protection and well-being of students,” he said.
“We reiterate that the government remains steadfast to modernize our public utility vehicles and will not be bullied or held hostage by some transport groups,” Roque added.
Malacañang later released Memorandum Circular No. 42, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, ordering the Metro Manila-wide class suspension.
MC 42 is dated March 19, but was released to the media on March 20, the same day i the Malacañang Records Office received it.
“In view of the organized transport strike and in order to minimize the inconvenience to the riding public, classes in all public and private schools at all levels in Metro Manila are hereby suspended on 20 March 2018,” said MC 42.
Roque said on Monday that Malacañang was considering a week-long class suspension due to the transport strike, which groups staged on Monday, March 19, as part of their continuing protest against the government's jeepney modernization program.
Malacañang announced the class suspension on Tuesday even after the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) announced on Monday that there would be no transportation strike on Tuesday.
Piston national president George San Mateo made the announcement in a Facebook post on Monday, in response to the claim of Roque that the transportation strike may extend beyond March 19.
“Malacañang, sa pamamagitan ng Presidential spokesperson ay naghahasik ng fake news. Nagpalabas ng pahayag na meron pa daw transport strike bukas kaya baka kakanselahin nila ang klase hanggang Marso 23. Wala pong transport strike bukas,” San Mateo said on Monday.
(Malacañang, through the Presidential spokesman, is spreading fake news. He issued a statement that there will be a transport strike tomorrow [Tuesday] so classes would be cancelled until March 23. There is no transport strike tomorrow [Tuesday].)
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