By Milcielo Claire Villamayor
After meeting with representatives from U.P. T.O.D.A. and All UP Workers Union, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) has implemented a new Toki jeepney route that would pass by the new National Institute of Physics (NIP) in the UP Diliman campus today.
The campus’s 15 Toki jeepney drivers went to Quezon Hall 8 a.m. today to discuss the new route with Dr. Cynthia Grace Gregorio, Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs and Maj. Bernie Baltazar, officer -in-charge of UP Diliman Police.
This came after Toki jeepneys plying the campus seemingly decreased yesterday, sparking rumors of a drivers’ strike.
Toki drivers stopped driving around the campus yesterday noon to discuss the memorandum they received from the OVCCA Monday regarding a proposed route they disagreed with.
“Konti (15) na nga lang kami magsstrike pa kami?” said one of the jeepney drivers, brushing off rumors that a strike was held. “Nag-uusap lang talaga kami,” he affirmed.
The drivers have since resumed their routes.
The administration’s proposal would take Toki jeepneys only until the College of Home Economics (CHE), a few kilometers short of the NIP, since the NIP gate leading to C.P. Garcia Avenue, the university’s southernmost road, is closed.
“Importante rin kasi sa ‘min ang Physics (building),” said Kuya Jester, a Toki jeepney driver, citing the number of students coming from the National Science Complex where the NIP is located.
Gregorio and Baltazar rode in a jeepney passing through the drivers’ proposed route that would let them go to NIP, return to CHE to exit to Katipunan Avenue via Shuster Street, and then go to C.P. Garcia Avenue.
The new route was approved by the administration and implemented immediately after the meeting.
According to the University Student Council Community Rights and Welfare committee, the memorandum indicated that the route change was only temporary pending the completion of the National Science Complex, but did not specify until when.
Without full knowledge of the situation, students were inconvenienced by the sudden absence of Toki jeeps, many believing there was a strike.
“I think it was a very abrupt move. Ang alam ko kasi yung iba nagsstrike nang may pasabi. Na-late ako sa isang class dahil naghintay ako ng Toki tapos wala pala. So nag-taxi ako at napamahal.” said Enzo Regondola , a Journalism student.
“I was waiting for the Toki kasi I have to go to CHK (College of Human Kinetics) for PE (Physical Education) pero wala, so napa- Ikot ako,” said Pia Pellobello, a Business Administration and Accountancy student, referring to the campus’s other jeepney route, Ikot.
“There’s a strike diba?” she asked.
Ikot and Toki are the two main jeepney routes that service the entire UP Diliman campus. Toki takes its name from its route that runs opposite to Ikot. The Ikot route is counterclockwise around the campus; the Toki, clockwise.