Transport group Manibela to hold strike on June 10-12

Transport group Manibela to hold strike on June 10-12

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:15 AM June 05, 2024

‘PROTESTCARAVAN’ Transport groupsManibela and Piston gather atQuezon City in January to hold amotorcade against the government’s jeepneymodernization program. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Transport groups Manibela and Piston gathered at Quezon City in January to hold a motorcade against the government’s jeepney modernization program. —Niño Jesus Orbeta

MANILA, Philippines — Transport group Manibela said on Tuesday that it would hold another strike from June 10 to June 12 to protest the alleged harassment of their members by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) personnel.

In a press briefing, Manibela president Mar Valbuena accused traffic enforcers from both agencies of targeting their members who did not join transport cooperatives or corporations as required under the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

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READ: QCPD files criminal charges vs Manibela chair due to violations during protest

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He said that during a congressional hearing on May 21 for the PUVMP, transport groups, including Manibela, on the one side, and DOTr and its agencies, on the other, agreed that PUV operators and drivers who refused to consolidate could continue plying their routes in addition to a one-year extension of their registration.

Transport officials earlier said that after the April 30 deadline for consolidation, the franchises of noncompliant PUVs would be revoked. Unconsolidated units also risk being impounded for 30 days, with the driver’s license suspended for one year and the operator fined P50,000.

“It’s clear that during the hearing in Congress, it was agreed that there will be no apprehensions yet [for being unconsolidated], which would warrant the impoundment of your unit,” Valbuena said.

He added that, for their part, they agreed to modernize their units on their own and comply with other standards under the PUVMP.

“We will be given a chance to prove that we can comply with the modernization program. Even if we don’t consolidate, we will modernize our vehicles with Philippine-made ones that will be compliant with Philippine national standards,” he said.

LTFRB warning

According to him, Manibela, with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry, will be negotiating with local manufacturers to come out with a jeepney prototype that is more affordable but still compliant with PUVMP standards.

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Valbuena said that some 100,000 of their members nationwide, mostly in Metro Manila and nearby areas, would join the transport strike that will culminate on June 12. Their other members in the Visayas and major Mindanao cities will also take part, he added.

As of this writing, officials from the DOTr, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), MMDA and Land Transportation Office have yet to confirm the agreement claimed by Valbuena.

But in a radio interview, LTFRB Chair Teofilo Guadiz III warned unconsolidated drivers and operators against holding protests.

“You no longer have the right to ply your routes because you did not comply with the government policy on industry consolidation. If you stop plying your route, it won’t be violation of franchise that will be filed against you, it will be public disturbance already …,” he said.

Since last year, Manibela has conducted at least four transport strikes, two of these with the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or Piston, to protest the implementation of the PUVMP.

A joint mass action on March 6, 2023, led to a dialogue between the two transport groups and Malacañang the next day. After the President promised to review the modernization program, the strike was called off.

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Manibela held another transport strike from Nov. 22 to 24, followed by a third one between Dec. 18 and 29, to protest against the then looming Dec. 31, 2023 consolidation deadline. —with a report from Inquirer Research

TAGS: DoTr, MMDA, PUVMP

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