Amid PUV strike, DOTr chief firm on a ‘nonnegotiable’

Amid PUV strike, DOTr chief firm on a ‘nonnegotiable’

Amid PUV strike, DOTr chief firm on a ‘nonnegotiable’

PLACARD PROTEST | Members of transport group Piston, or Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, in Manila, voice out their sentiments against the government’s modernization program for passenger vehicles on the first day of a three-day nationwide strike that kicked off on Nov. 20, 2023. (Photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista expressed willingness on Wednesday to discuss the other demands of transport groups protesting against the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) but not the scrapping of the franchise consolidation requirement.

“One very important issue that is nonnegotiable is industry consolidation because we really need the players to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations,“ Bautista said at the sidelines of the Stratbase ADR Institute Pilipinas Conference.


Members of transport groups Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide) and Manibela separately carried out this week three-day strikes in different areas nationwide to protest the approaching Dec. 31 for franchise consolidation applications under the PUVMP.



Bautista called the requirement a “very important component” of the program. But according to Piston, it could lead to a monopoly for “a few big fleet managers or corporations” that have the capital to control PUV routes.

The group also urged the government to allow those who had already complied with the provision to withdraw their individual franchises.

Manibela, on the other hand, said that while most PUV drivers and operators had formed cooperatives or corporations in compliance with the modernization program, some later expressed regret after they realized they could not afford to pay the monthly amortizations for their new, modern PUVs.

Among the other demands of Piston and Manibela were the restoration of five-year franchises for all PUVs, the distribution of financial aid to affected drivers and operators, and the implementation of a national industrialization program that was not “overly reliant” on imported vehicles.

While the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has downplayed the impact of the transport strike in the National Capital Region, several universities and private schools have shifted to online classes to avoid inconveniencing their students.

READ: LTFRB says 3 of Piston’s demands ‘doable’ amid transport strike

Classes called off

In Laguna province, classes at all levels in both public and private schools in Calamba and Cabuyao cities were called off on Wednesday. Government offices in Cabuyao City, however, remained open, according to the city public information office.


In a statement, Calamba City Mayor Roseller Rizal said that while he respected the rights of the transport sector to go on strike, the suspension of classes was meant to ensure the safety of students and other people.

In San Pedro, Santa Rosa, and Biñan cities, classes were held as usual in public and private schools while government employees reported for work despite the transport strike.

On the other hand, in-person classes at all levels in Albay province were still suspended on Wednesday due to the effects of a shear line and the nationwide transport strike.

Classes in big universities and colleges have been conducting online and blended learning classes since Monday.

Renato Piolino, “No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition-Albay” spokesperson, said that while their members resumed operations on Wednesday, the group managed to paralyze around 95 percent to 97 percent of transportation on Monday, the first day of the strike.

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Piolino said that about 60 percent of operators and drivers joined the mass action, adding that he hoped the government heard their demands.

TAGS: Department of Transportation, Jaime Bautista, PUV drivers, PUV modernization program, transport strike

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