MMDA: 7 big transport groups not joining strike | Inquirer News
Local gov’ts plan countermeasures in 5-hour meeting

MMDA: 7 big transport groups not joining strike

Idle jeepneys are seen on a terminal in Nagtahan, Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Operators and drivers who are part of the consolidated entities participating in the government’s public utility vehicles (PUV) modernization program on Thursday assured Metro Manila commuters that around 11,800 jeepneys and UV express vehicles would still operate next week despite the looming weeklong strike initiated by some transport groups.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also said that it was considering suspending the number coding scheme, in preparation for the planned mass action to protest the phaseout of traditional jeepneys.


READ: MMDA may suspend number coding during week-long transport strike

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), the MMDA and the heads of local governments in the metropolis had a five-hour meeting on Thursday to discuss, among others, the planned transport strike.


MMDA Chair Romando Artes disclosed that the so-called “Magnificent 7,” which is composed of the biggest transport groups in the country, has assured the government that they would not join next week’s strike.

The seven include the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston), the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap), the UV Express group, Association of Concerned Transport Organizations (Acto), Pasang Masda, Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP), and the Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap).

Bracing for impact

Artes said he was also assured by mayors that local transport groups in their respective jurisdictions vowed not to participate in the transport stoppage.

Still, he said the MMDA and all local governments in the metropolis were preparing for the possible impact of the nationwide strike, adding they were not belittling the protest of some transport groups.

READ: LTFRB ‘ready’ to fill gaps as week-long transport strike nears

To address concerns of drivers and operators not joining the protest that they might be “harassed” by strike participants, the MMDA chair said the Metro Manila police and even some members of the Philippine Army already committed to have a “full deployment” of their personnel across the capital region “to ensure [their] security.”

Artes said they have also put on standby their vans and buses that may be deployed to ferry stranded passengers.


Only solution

“The call for ‘tigil pasada’ to oppose the recently released memorandum circular is not the solution to address the issues around the [modernization] program,” Ferdinand Lupangosy, chair of 997 Sandigan Transport Cooperative, said in a press briefing.

Lupangosy noted that the PUV modernization plan “is the only long-term solution we see to fix public transportation in our country.”

Some transport groups led by Manibela announced earlier this week that they would hold a weeklong strike involving an estimated 40,000 jeepneys and UV express starting March 6 to contest the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) Memorandum Circular No. 2023-013, which set a June 30 deadline for individual operators to join the modernization program or risk losing their franchises. This has since been extended to Dec. 31 by the LTFRB to give jeepney operators more time.

READ: Week-long transport strike on March 6 will continue, says Manibela

Freddie Hernandez, chair of Taguig Transport Cooperative, pointed out that the extension would not guarantee that the transport groups would not threaten to hold another “tigil pasada” by the end of the year.

As they attended the Senate hearing on Thursday afternoon, he said they would ask the government to push through with the June 30 deadline instead.

Manibela president Mar Valbuena remained firm that the planned strike would push through on Monday, March 6, despite the decision of the LTFRB to extend the deadline.

“If we always agree to the extension, the scenario will just repeat itself. Every time the deadline comes, we will keep on holding press conferences and strike again,” he said.


Be considerate? LTFRB says modernization plan had been delayed to accommodate concerns

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TAGS: LTFRB, Magnificent 7, Manibela, MMDA, traditional jeepney phaseout, transport strike
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