LTFRB: Strikes, rallies won’t stop PUV modernization program
MANILA, Philippines – Transport strikes and rallies won’t stop the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra said on Monday.
“What I can say is that the implementation of the PUV-MP will continue because that is the firm directive of the President and the DOTR to continue to implement it. We have been waiting for this for so long,” he said in a press conference at the LTFRB office.
“The modernization program that this administration has put in place is widespread, comprehensive, and holistic insofar the system that we are talking about, all aspects of our public transport would be addressed in this project,” he added.
On Monday, drivers and operators of PUVs belonging to the groups Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), and the Stop and GO coalition staged a transport strike, forcing some local government units to suspend work and classes.
The groups have been opposing the modernization project, which requires vehicles 15 years old or older to comply with Euro 4 standards on emission. They claim that, while they were not against the plan, what they were calling out is the manner in which it would be conducted, which would supposedly harm the livelihood of small operators and drivers.
According to Mody Floranda, Piston national president, the strike paralyzed 95 percent of transport operations in Metro Manila, based on reports from their members in Caloocan City, Quezon City, and Marikina.
However, Delgra said that there WERE several groups who actually favor the modernization program, including commuters allegedly inconvenienced by the strikes.
But aside from that, he also reminded the protesters that the government would not hesitate to penalize drivers and operators who would be found culpable of breaching the Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC), or franchises.
“Government is firm in having to address those who violate the very privilege of the franchise that was given to them, which is to render public service. That’s what we want to say,” Delgra claimed.
Floranda dismissed the alleged threats, saying that even if their franchises would not be revoked for protesting, they would still be stripped of them come July 2020, the deadline for the PUV modernization program.
“Actually what operators said, whether they go on strike or not, they would lose their means of livelihood as the deadline has already been set on 2020. Regardless of their decision, the franchises would be stripped next year,” Floranda explained.
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