Marcos Jr. asks transport groups to rethink planned week-long strike
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday appealed to transport groups to reconsider their planned week-long strike, assuring them that the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program will be further studied and tweaked.
Marcos said many commuters will suffer if the strike pushes through.
“Kawawa talaga ang mga tao at marami pang naghihirap at mas lalo pang maghihirap ‘pag hindi makapasok sa trabaho,” he said in a chance interview in Rizal Park in Manila.
(Many people will suffer and many more will do should the strike push through, since they won’t be able to go to work.)
Transport groups earlier announced their plan to hold a week-long strike starting March 6, to protest the impending phaseout of traditional PUV units in the implementation of the PUV modernization program.
Marcos admitted that while modernizing PUVs is already a must, the implementation of the program is not good enough and the government will conduct further studies on it.
“Sa issue ng modernization, sa aking palagay, ay kailangan ding gawin talaga ‘yan. Ngunit sa pag-aaral ko, parang hindi naging maganda ang implementasyon nung modernization program,” he said.
(On the issue of modernization, I think we have to do it but based on my studies, I think the implementation is not so good.)
“Tignan natin. Siguro kaya nating kausapin ang mga transport groups at sabihin natin, “Hindi babaguhin talaga namin para hindi masyadong mabigat sa bulsa ng bawat isa,” Marcos added.
(Let’s see. I think we can talk to transport groups and tell them that we will change the implementation so that it would not be much of a burden to all.)
He also proposed to inspect traditional PUVs if they can still be used and are in good condition despite their age.
“Dapat ang pwedeng gawin ay inspeksyunin ang mga vehicles. May mga luma naman na maganda pa rin, eh. May luma naman na pwede pang gamitin,” the President said.
(We should inspect the vehicles. There are old ones that are still in good condition and still can be used.)
“Just because five years old, or 10 years old, hindi na pwede. Tingnan natin yung condition. Kung magandang mag-alaga yung driver, maganda yung jeep niya, pwede pang gamitin ‘yan, safe pa naman,” he added.
(Just because the vehicle is five or 10 years old, it doesn’t mean that it can no longer be used. We should check the condition. If the driver took care of it and his jeepney is in good condition, that is still safe and still can be used.)
Marcos said the modernization program has to be implemented “in a different way,” since it is the first step to the shift to electric vehicles.
He said the government should look at what the “real timetable” is for the introduction of electric vehicles in considering the implementation of the modernization program.
“‘Yan ang mga issue na kailangang pag-aralan. It’s not that simple but I’m hoping na dito sa mga initiatives na iniisip natin, makumbinsi naman natin ang mga transport groups na ‘wag na muna magstrike,” Marcos said.
(Those are the issues that need to be studied. It’s not that simple but I’m hoping that with these initiatives, we can convince the transport groups not to hold a strike.)
Bautista said the government is ready to hold a dialogue with them to thresh out issues they may have on the program.