Gov’t ‘open to healthy discussion’ with transport groups, but…
Malacañang said the government was open to a “healthy discussion” with transport groups but added that the Duterte administration won’t compromise if the public welfare was at stake.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella made the statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte gave an ultimatum to jeepney operators and drivers to modernize their jeepneys.
“The President’s fervid support of modernization goes back to the attempts of previous administrations to whose attempts to do the same but had been thwarted due to similar ideologically based transport strikes and protests,” Abella said.
With the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), Abella said “everybody benefits – from drivers, operators and most especially the millions of commuters.”
The Palace official said the government was open to discussion with transport groups.
“Government is open to more healthy dialogue, discussion and responsible engagements with transport groups that wish to learn and contribute to the development of the PUV Modernization Program,” he said.
“However, when public good is at stake, the Duterte administration will not compromise,” he added. “This is the message of the President’s speech yesterday.”
Abella said Duterte’s order that old jeepneys should be out in the streets by January 1, 2017 underscored “the national leadership’s strong political will and decisive stance to initiate reform in the public transportation sector.”
The public, he said, needed “to discern that some ideological influences can derail the greater good.”
“Let us move forward towards the comfortable life that [Duterte] is fighting for,” he said.
Piston on Monday launched a two-day transport strike nationwide to protest the government’s program phasing out jeepneys at least 15 years old.
Piston is protesting the PUV modernization program aimed at phasing out old PUVs, while the government plans to replace the jeepneys with “eco-friendly” PUVs. /je
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