Transport strike to push through

by Franco Jose C. Baroña, The Manila Times

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Transport strike to push through

RARE RIDE Commuters wait for a ride in Pasay City on Thursday, March 2, 2023, as the country braces for a nationwide transport strike that will start on March 6. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA


Mar Valbuena, leader of the Manibela transport group, said on Thursday that drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys and UV Express will push through with their strike to protest the government’s PUV Modernization Program.

The transport strike, with participants in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, and Cagayan de Oro, will start on March 6 at 7 a.m. and will last until March 12.

“Tuloy ang tigil pasada (The transport strike will push through),” Valbuena told The Manila Times.

He said they will only call off the strike if the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will scrap its memorandum circular 2023-013, ordering all drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys to join cooperatives.

He said failure to comply with the directive will result in the cancellation of the provisional authority that allows them to operate in their respective routes.

“We want the LTFRB circular 2023-013 to be scrapped first or totally canceled before we would sit down for a dialogue,” said Valbuena.

The LTFRB announced on Wednesday the extension of the deadline for traditional jeepneys to consolidate their franchises under a cooperative until the end of 2023.

“Following the advice of [Transportation] Secretary Jaime Bautista and following the statement of President (Ferdinand) Marcos (Jr.), we are extending the consolidation of modern jeepneys from June 30 to the end of December 2023. This is in response to the request of the transport sector,” LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz 3rd said.

Guadiz said the deadline extension was made not to appease the strikers.

“To be honest, we are not pressured by the threat of a strike because more than 90 percent of transport groups have signified their support to the program of the LTFRB,” he said.

Valbuena said the LTFRB’s move to extend the consolidation deadline will not alter the fact that operators and drivers of traditional jeepneys will eventually lose their livelihood.

“They are only trying to calm us down. But in the end, we will still lose our livelihood because after the extension we still need to replace our units,” he said.

Valbuena slammed local government units for allegedly offering financial assistance to operators and drivers of traditional jeepneys to change their mind.

“So there should always be a transport strike so that there will be aid?” he said.

Guadiz said that following the extension of the deadline, the LTFRB will draft new guidelines on the matter, including the possibility of allowing jeepney operators to maintain their franchises even without joining a cooperative.

The jeepney modernization program seeks to phase out old and dilapidated jeepneys and replace them with high-capacity and environment-friendly vehicles.

Under the program, operators must surrender their individual franchises and consolidate with a fleet management system wherein each cooperative is required to purchase 15 imported minibuses per route.


2023-03-03T09:32:47+00:00March 3rd, 2023|News|0 Comments

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