The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority over the weekend announced the suspension of the expanded number coding scheme for Monday.

In an advisory, the MMDA said the suspension of the Expanded Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) will be suspended on March 6, as jeepney operators and drivers start the week-long transport holiday to protest the public utility vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.

“Nakahanda naman ang Metropolitan Manila Development Authority para magbigay ng libreng sakay sa mga pasahero na posibleng ma-stranded ng isang linggong tigil pasada simula sa Lunes,” it said.

(The MMDA is ready to provide free rides to passengers who could possibly be stranded due to the week-long transport strike starting Monday.)

The agency is mandated to implement programs, policies, and procedures to achieve public safety, including disaster preparedness for preventive or rescue operations during calamities and disasters.

Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) set a June 30 deadline for PUVs to shift to modern jeepneys, but has since extended this to December 31, 2023, in deference of a Senate resolution and the request of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

The PUV modernization program started in 2017, aiming to replace jeepneys with vehicles that have at least a Euro 4-compliant engine to lessen pollution, but drivers and operators complained about the costs which could hit over P2 million.

Transport officials have said that traditional jeepneys can still operate beyond the set deadline, provided that they join transport cooperatives to prevent “on-street competition” among drivers and operators. —LBG, GMA Integrated News