MANILA, Philippines – The country is bracing for a weeklong transportation strike from Monday, March 6, to Sunday, March 12, as groups protest against what they perceive as the imminent phaseout of traditional jeepneys.
Transport groups Manibela, PISTON, and Laban TNVS are staging the strike as a response to the implementation of the jeepney modernization program by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena previously said around 40,000 public utility vehicles in Metro Manila alone would participate in the strike.
Earlier, the LTFRB set a June 30 deadline for traditional jeepneys to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations. Consolidated entities would eventually be required to buy modern jeepneys that can cost operators up to P2.8 million each. While the LTFRB has since extended the deadline to December 31, jeepney drivers and operators still fear that their livelihoods are at risk.
Meanwhile, other transport groups in Metro Manila have expressed their support for the modernization program and declared that they will not be participating in the weeklong strike. According to the LTFRB, about 94% of transport groups will not be joining the strike.
To assist commuters who may be stranded, the government has set up an interagency monitoring team to deploy vehicles as needed.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority prepared 25 Libreng Sakay vehicles to ferry a total of 1,200 passengers per trip. The MMDA also suspended the number coding scheme on Monday, adding that it will assess if suspensions on succeeding days would be necessary.
Local government units across Metro Manila – including Quezon City, Navotas City, Pasay City, Taguig City, and San Juan City – will also be dispatching around 1,200 vehicles combined. – Rappler.com
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