Transport group calls for strike starting Nov. 20 | Inquirer News

Transport group calls for strike starting Nov. 20

Transport group calls for strike starting Nov. 20

AGAINST MODERNIZATION PROGRAM | A jeepney driver takes part in an earlier transport strike held in March, in this photo taken in Parañaque City. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Major transport group Piston, or the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, said on Wednesday it would lead a four-day transport strike starting Nov. 20 ahead of the approaching Dec. 31 deadline for franchise consolidation applications of the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

The protest set for Nov. 20 to 23 was in response to the government’s rejection of their request to remove the franchise consolidation component of the program and to suspend the entire program, Piston national president Mody Floranda said in a statement.


Part of the PUV modernization program would include the phaseout of traditional jeepneys nationwide.


The group warned that the franchise consolidation scheme “may result in the monopoly of a few big fleet managers or corporations” that have the necessary capital to control PUV routes, effectively stripping small-time operators of their democratic control over their vehicles and livelihoods.

“This is not meant to fix public transport but to give advantage to big businesses and corporations,” Floranda said.

Piston also asked for the scrapping of the franchise consolidation requirement and allowing those who previously complied to withdraw their individual franchises. It likewise demanded the restoration of the five-year franchises for all PUVs; the provision of financial aid to affected drivers and operators; and the implementation of a national industrialization program that is not “overly relying” on imported vehicles.

‘Open to a dialogue’

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) led by chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III and its board members met on Wednesday to discuss how the impending transport strike will impact the transport sector and the riding public.

“The priority of our chairman is to ensure that passengers will be able to ride on Monday, and our chairman will push through an open dialogue with them (transport leaders),” LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialago said at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon news briefing on state television.

Pialago said Guadiz is “open anytime” for a dialogue with the transport leaders organizing the strike. She added that agency officials “believe” the transport strike leaders “merely do not understand” the PUV modernization program.


She clarified that after Dec. 31, there would be no automatic phaseout of traditional jeepneys as these would continue to be able to ply their routes for as long as they pass the roadworthiness test of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and obtain proper registration.


“What’s most important is consolidation because if there’s none, there would be no confirmation from the LTFRB, and if there’s no confirmation, the LTO would have no basis for their [PUVs’] registration. And if that happens, they might not be able to operate for next year,” she said.

The LTFRB’s information dissemination drive on the modernization program continues to convince jeepney drivers and operators to consolidate, Pialago said. By next week, Guadiz will be launching the “One-Stop Tsuper Shop,” which will open in all LTFRB offices nationwide, to receive queries about the program and render assistance.

Pialago said nearly 130,000 public utility jeepneys, UV Express, minibuses, and public utility buses have consolidated, comprising 65.03 percent of all authorized PUVs. More than 120,000 PUVs nationwide have not yet been modernized.

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The agency’s scholarship and entrepreneurship programs are also ready for drivers and operators who would be displaced and unable to ply their routes, she said.

TAGS: Piston, transport strike

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