MANILA, Philippines – Expressing their full support for the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, a number of transport groups in Metro Manila announced that they will not be taking part in the weeklong transport strike from March 6 to 12.
In the statements, released by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Metro Manila, some groups said that the strike would “create alarm and affect the riding public.”
Groups Manibela, PISTON, and Laban TNVS earlier signaled a transport strike as a response to the LTFRB’s June 30 deadline for traditional jeepneys to consolidate. These jeepney drivers and operators said there was a lack of government preparations for the implementation of the plan.
The other, opposing groups said they were not involved in consultations before the strike was declared.
The following were the groups that said they would not join the strike:
- National Federation of Transport Cooperatives (NFTC)
- Alliance of Transport Operators’ & Drivers’ Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP)
- Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP)
- Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO)
- Pasang Masda (PM) Jeepney
- Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP)
- Stop and Go Coalition
- Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO)
- UV Express National Alliance of the Philippines (UV Express)
The LTFRB said that this is the “majority” of transport groups in Metro Manila.
“There was no meeting or consultation made to our group and to different national transport leaderships before the declaration of the supposed national strike,” the statements from LTOP and UV Express read.
“There was no DOTr (Department of Transportation) and LTFRB consultation made about the issues and concerns of the transport sectors before the declaration of the strike… That will create alarm and affect the riding public. That will only paralyze and affect the growing economy of the country,” the two groups added.
LTOP added that its members in all regions will not participate in the strike.
“Ang hanay ng Stop and Go ay hindi lang tumitingin sa interes ng aking nasasakupan, kundi kasama ang interes ng mananakay,” said Stop and Go national president Zaldy Ping-ay. (Stop and Go is not only considering the interest of its jurisdiction, it is also considering the interest of commuters.)
Meanwhile, representatives from PM, NFTC, and the Metro Manila Regional Clustered Organization PUC expressed gratitude for LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular 2023-013, which set the deadline for traditional jeepneys to consolidate until June 30.
“Ito ay nangangahulugan na seryoso ang gobyerno sa pagmomodernisa sa mga pampublikong sasakyan,” the three representatives said. (This signals that the government is serious about modernizing its public transport.)
Following the clamor from the sector, the LTFRB had extended the deadline to December 31.
Many operators who have chosen to strike are not against PUV modernization as a whole. Rather, they lament the current plans under the program due to expenses that come with surrendering individual franchises into a Fleet Management System. The LTFRB has said that the consolidation was a necessary first step in the program.
Jeepney drivers and operators fear that the program will eventually phase out their units, and require them to buy modernized jeeps that they cannot afford.
Metro Manila cities, as well as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, have prepared free rides for commuters who will be affected by the weeklong strike. The Manila International Airport Authority has also announced plans to deploy shuttles for its employees. – Rappler.com
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