Major transpo groups not joining strike on July 24; LTFRB to impose sanctions
MANILA, Philippines — Several major transportation groups affirmed on Tuesday that they would not be participating in the upcoming transportation strike on July 24.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III, on the other hand, warned that operators and drivers who will join the strike would face sanctions.
To recall, transport group Manibela on Friday announced that it will hold a strike beginning July 24 until July 26, coinciding with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), to protest the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).
But in a press conference on Tuesday, major transportation groups said that they are opposed to the planned strike, noting that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its attached agencies, specifically, LTFRB, have been continuously conducting dialogues with the said groups.
The said groups, collectively called the “Magnificent 7” were composed of Pasang Masda, the Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap), Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide (Piston), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap), Stop and Go, and Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators ng Pilipinas (LTOP).
Pasang Masda national president Roberto “Ka Obet” Martin said that the groups had been able to successfully address several problems with the DOTr, such as confirming that there will be no phaseout of jeepneys — as long as traditional jeepneys go through the motor vehicle inspection service to check roadworthiness — and the waiver of fines and penalties to jeepneys whose franchises expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kaya kami, nasisiyahan at nadidinig kami. Hinaharap po kami ng kalihim, hinaharap kami ng chairman para ang aming problema ay mabigyan ng solusyon,” said Martin.
(So we are satisfied that we are heard. The secretary and the chairman are meeting with us so that our problem can be solved.)
Sanctions for strike participants
In the same conference, Guadiz then issued a warning against operators and drivers who intend to join the upcoming strike on July 24.
“Unang mensahe namin doon sa mga nagbabalak ng strike, ‘wag niyo na po ituloy. Tayo po ay nagumpisa magusap noon, sana po ito ay tuloy tuloy hanggang sa matugunan natin ang mga problema, walang problemang natutugunan ng solusyon sa kalye,” said Guadiz.
(Our first message to those planning a strike is do not continue. We’ve already conducted dialogues then, and I hope it will continue until we solve the problems. No problems can be solved in the streets.)
“Kung matigas pa rin ang ulo ninyo at talagang balak niyo magstrike meron pong sanction ‘yan, baka ho ‘yang tigil pasada niyo ay tuluyan na kayong tumigil sa pasada. Meron pong suspension or nakaakibat na cancellation ng prangkisa diyan pinapangako ko po sa inyo you will have the full force of the law,” he added.
(If you are still stubborn and you really intend to strike, there is a sanction. If you stop operations for the strike, then you might lose your job driving for transportation. There is a suspension or cancellation of the franchise attached to that, I promise you you will have the full force of the law.)
He then assured commuters that they would not be affected by the said strike, explaining that buses would be deployed for affected commuters.