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Thomasians express dismay over LRT2 service disruption

Thomasian commuters lamented the additional struggle in their daily commute brought about by the disruption of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 operation.

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Photo by Robert Lionel Garcia/TomasinoWeb

Thomasian commuters lamented the additional struggle in their daily commute brought about by the disruption of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 operation.

In a number of interviews with TomasinoWeb, students of the University expressed their dismay in the said incident and hope for the immediate resumption of  normal LRT-2 service.

[S]ana matupad talaga yang six to nine months na sinasabi niyo kasi umaasa lahat ng tao dyan,” Arabelle Bayron, a student from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, said regarding the time frame allotted for the LRT-2 to fully operate again.

“[3:15 a.m.] ako gumising para iwasan yung traffic tapos mga 5 a.m. ang traffic na sa Cubao. [Madami] na [ang] students [na] nag-aabang,” she added.

Allaine Chua, also a student from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, also shared the same sentiments, “Ang laking problem [na] na-idulot nitong unforeseen event. Pero dapat kahit unforeseen siya, dapat may solution agad ang government.”

Despite not riding the LRT-2 frequently, Karlo Bernabe of AMV-College of Accountancy also expressed the struggle brought by the disruption of LRT-2 service to other commuters. 

“Yung mga nagl-LRT na tiga-Pasig, nasakay na ng mga bus, UV at jeepneys. Ramdam ko na mas nahirapan ako makasakay ng UV pauwi at nadagdagan ang aking travel ng halos isang oras,” said Bernabe.

In an interview with TomasinoWeb, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) spokesperson Hernando Cabrera said that LRTA already had a contingency plan which is spare parts stocking. But despite having spare parts, they are not enough.

“Not only the commuters are affected by this transportation crisis. Even the stalls outside Santolan station are hugely affected since there are no more passengers going in and out of the station. They closed their stalls completely,” Chua added.

“[They] will have to bear their own respective losses. It is a risk they took. It is part of business risk,” Cabrera said when asked about the business stalls.

Despite the exasperation of the commuters, some also praised the free rides provided by the LRTA and other transportation companies.

“Kudos to the LRTA for giving free rides sa mga pasahero habang di pa nag-ooperate yung tatlong stations. […] Sana after magawa ma-maintain na nang maayos lahat to avoid problems kagaya nito and sana makagawa na talaga ng improvements sa transportation system natin,” said Kylie Vergara, a student also from the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

LRT-2 starts partial operation from Cubao to Recto

Partial operation of LRT-2 from Cubao to Recto and vice versa already resumed early today, October 8.

“We have resumed partial operations [from] Cubao to Recto by managing train speed and distribution in the line,” Cabrera said.

This is following the suspension of the LRT-2 operation last Thursday when two rectifiers in Katipunan and Anonas stations caught fire. LRTA said that the incident is “still under investigation.”

Continuous train travel and operation simulations were conducted from Saturday to Monday, according to Cabrera, in order to ensure safe and convenient rides for the LRT-2 passengers.

“Our primary focus and consideration is safety,” he added.

To ease the strain of daily commuters, LRTA provided free rides and asked Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to give special permits to 40 units of modernized public utility vehicles (PUVs), around 89 buses, and to deploy point-to-point (P2P) buses: Masinag to Legarda, Emerald to Legarda, Santolan to Legarda, and Anonas to Legarda.

Motorcycle ride-hailing company Angkas also provided free rides from Santolan to Recto and vice versa, from Tuesday to Thursday, at 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Victory Liner bus company also announced yesterday that their buses are available from Santolan to Cubao and vice versa, at 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m, with the same LRT-2 fare rate.

Repairs to take 9 months

Cabrera said nine months is a ballpark estimate, “not set in stone,” necessary to replace and restore the full operational conditions of the damaged rectifiers.

“We are looking into other angles [on] how to shorten the time frame, like the possibility of the [needed equipment’s availability] in nearby countries like Singapore, Hongkong, or Thailand, where they operate train system similar to LRT-2,” he said.

He explained that the shipment of the needed parts and components coming from the United Kingdom, France, and Japan will take time and that the equipment is not “plug and play.”

“They have to [be] manufactured [and] customized for the requirements of LRT-2. They are not readily available in the market. They need to be tested and commissioned after installation. They require fine tuning in order [to] function according to the performance level required,” he said. Coleen Ruth Abiog

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‘Duterte regime falls deaf to people’s cries’ –CSC, LSCs

Central Student Council (CSC), along with the Local Student Councils (LSC), denounced President Duterte’s lack of COVID-19 response roadmap in his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address yesterday, July 27. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

Central Student Council (CSC), along with the Local Student Councils (LSC), denounced President Duterte’s lack of COVID-19 response roadmap in his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address yesterday, July 27. 

“As we reflect upon the state of our nation, so stands our responsibility to address incompetence, the lack of national response from the administration in implementing the need for mass testing and systematic protocols in containing the virus, and its blatant value for militarization over medical solutions,” CSC’s said in a unity statement released yesterday. 

The councils demanded accountability from public officials such as Senator Kiko Pimentel, NCRPO chief Debold Sinas, and Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque. 

They also called on lawmakers who created “rushed laws that impede fundamental humans rights and freedom of speech.”

‘This is not how democracy works’ 

As Thomasians, the council expressed that they “could no longer sit idly” and watch the government compromise and abuse the country’s freedom. 

“As President Duterte falls deaf towards the cries of his people, his self-serving and personal interests prevail,” CSC said. 

According to them, this is not how democracy works. 

“[I]t is our utmost responsibility that we use our voice to speak for the silenced and oppressed,” the council said. 

“[W]e will embody the resistance and furbish our strength until it extends to the majority of our fellow Filipinos, the true cradle of our sovereignty,” the council added. Paolo Alejandrino 

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Youth groups, student leaders file 14th plea vs anti-terror law

The University’s Central Student Council (CSC), along with different youth groups and student leaders, filed a petition that questions the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) before the Supreme Court yesterday, July 23. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

The University’s Central Student Council (CSC), along with different youth groups and student leaders, filed a petition that questions the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) before the Supreme Court yesterday, July 23. 

“Members of these organizations continue to experience red-tagging, harassment, and intimidation from security forces for actively engaging in protests and different forms of advocacy work and for speaking out on the current administration’s policies,” their statement read.

The petition was filed by Atty. Dino de Leon on behalf of 16 youth organizations “to protect their members and their fellow youth from the dangerous provisions of the Act.” 

CSC, which was represented by Arts and Letters student Therese Ifurung, was joined by De La Salle University Student Government, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, University of the Philippines – Diliman University Student Council, National Union of Students of the Philippines, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines.

Other youth-led and youth-serving organization co-petitioners were Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, Millennials PH, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan, Good Gov PH, Youth Strike 4 Climate Change Philippines, Liberal Youth of the Philippines, Aksyon Kabataan, La Salle Debate Society.

Earlier petitions were filed by a coalition of university law professors, human rights groups, labor unions, partylist blocs, constitutional framers Christian Monsod and Felicitas Arroyo, and retired justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales. 

Another petition is expected to be filed yesterday from the Bangsamoro sector, which is set to bring the total number of petitions to 15.

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Take part in SONA protest, student council presidents urge

University of Santo Tomas student leaders, along with different national organizations, urged the youth to participate in the nationwide protest for the incoming fifth State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 27.

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Screengrab from SONAgKAISAng Kabataan sa Paglaban press conference

University of Santo Tomas student leaders, along with different national organizations, urged the youth to participate in the nationwide protest for the incoming fifth State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 27. 

“It is imperative that we take a stand on the different social issues that our country is currently facing,” Artlets Student Council acting president Paolo Jericho Manuel said during a webinar today, June 20.

Manuel said that democracy, development, and justice are compromised right now due to the government’s incompetence and misplaced priorities, citing the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers who lost their jobs and the signing of the “vague” Anti-Terrorism Act into law. 

Manuel stressed that there is an urgent need for government action in addressing the problem with the accessibility of education.

Department of Education records showed that six million students from last year failed to enroll for the incoming academic year 2020-2021. 

‘Evil move’ 

Central Student Council president Robert Dominic Gonzales called on the youth to stay vigilant in this time of injustices. 

Gonzales said that the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Law is an “evil move” by the government to silence its critics. 

“We will still be haunted by the horrors that this administration has caused,” he said. 

Gonzales also lauded the sacrifice of the frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged the public to protect and support them. 

The webinar, “SONAgKAISAng Kabataan sa Paglaban,” was organized by the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT). Raheema Velasco 

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