Malacañang 'will not be intimidated' by September 30 transport strike
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it "will not be intimidated" by the nationwide transport strike set for Monday, September 30.
"The Duterte administration will not be intimidated nor cowed by threats of protests and strikes coming from those who only think of their own parochial interest," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Sunday, September 29, the eve of the strike.
Transport groups will protest the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, which is set to be implemented in 2020. (READ: Is the PUV modernization program 'anti-poor?’)
The program will phase out jeepneys that are at least 15 years old and replace them with Euro 4-compliant vehicles that can run on renewable energy.
In 2017, when PUV modernization was first launched, transport groups also held several strikes nationwide to protest its implementation.
Malacañang said it is not dissuading PUV operators and drivers from joining Monday's protest, but cautioned them "to assemble peacefully and not perform acts of violence that will endanger the safety of the general public."
Panelo added that the government would "enforce pertinent laws, rules, and regulations, including the cancellation of their privileges, such as franchises or certificates of public convenience."
He also described the modernization program as "long overdue" and a testament of the Duterte administration's commitment to provide "convenient and accessible public transportation."
Panelo also called on concerned agencies to assist commuters who will be affected on Monday.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said on Sunday that it would offer free rides to affected commuters. Several local government units have also put out their own advisories regarding free rides.
Classes have been canceled in some areas and schools around the country due to the transport strike. – Rappler.com