LTFRB again plays down transport strike
MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) downplayed the three-day strike to be staged in different parts of the country next week by transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), saying it would have minimum impact.
Several transport groups in Central Visayas said they would not join the nationwide strike that would run from Monday to Wednesday, LTFRB Chair Teofilo Guadiz III said in a statement on Saturday.
Guadiz disclosed that Regional Director Ed Montealto of LTFRB’s regional office in Central Visayas submitted to his office copies of manifestos from different transport groups showing their commitment not to join the transport strike.
“We firmly believe that joining the transport strike or any form of activity that will impede the mobility of our services is not in the best interest of our organization, the community, and the overall transportation system,” said the manifestos of transport cooperatives under Kaluha Twin Trading & Services Corp., LUTG Lapu Lapu City United Transport Group, and the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperative.
According to LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialago, special permits will be issued by the agency to drivers and operators to ply the “eight to 12 routes” in Metro Manila to be affected by the strike.
Local governments and other agencies will also provide free rides to commuters.
Based on Guadiz’s meeting with regional directors, the chair of the LTFRB assessed the three-day strike of Piston would have “no major impact,” similar to the previous nationwide strike of Manibela (Malayang Alyansa ng Bus Employees at Laborers) last month.“I cannot recommend the suspension of classes or work because based on our last experience with the strike, given the same scenario, there was no impact and the work of both private and public sectors, as well as classes should continue,” Guadiz said.
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Pialago said Guadiz appealed to Piston to stop their planned strike.
“If they will positively respond then well and good, but if they will still go on with this, it is still possible for them to lose their franchise or their franchise will be suspended,” she warned.
But on Saturday, Piston president Mody Floranda stood firm that the three-day strike would push through despite the appeal from the LTFRB to call it off.
He said some 100,000 members of Piston and their local federations would participate in the transport strike to protest the Dec. 31 deadline for the franchise consolidation of the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program.