Poe urges transport officials, groups to meet halfway over jeepney upgrade plan
Senator Grace Poe prodded government officials and various transport leaders “to move a little, give a little” as they faced each other in a Senate hearing on Monday to tackle the proposed jeepney modernization program.
As promised, Poe, as chair of the Senate committee on public services, called the hearing to listen to all parties involved in the implementation of the modernization program and those who would be affected by it like the transport operators and leaders.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with other transportation officials, and transport groups led by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) president George San Mateo attended the hearing.
“I know that many of you have come here today raring to argue your case passionately. But this hearing is not in aid of publicity, but in search for the solutions we all need,” she said in her opening statement.
By calling the hearing, Poe said her committee was trying to bring the issue from the streets to the negotiating table.
“Many of you have tried to thresh this out in several forums, and apparently everyone is sticking to his guns. The result is the policy-equivalent of a classic traffic gridlock, like cars entangled in an intersection because no one would budge,” she said.
“I may be wrong in my observation. But believe me, that is how the public perceives the situation to be. Wala kasing gusting magbigayan. Kaya as we go along, expect me to prod many of you to move a little, give a little, so we can unknot this mess,” Poe added.
The senator also took the opportunity to thank the jeepney drivers and operators, who halted their planned strike last December 4 and 5 upon her request.
For his part, Tugade vowed not only to “bend a little” but to also “move faster a little bit more.”
“We can bend a little, and move faster a little bit more,” he said, noting that his attendance in the hearing showed their readiness to dialogue with the transport sector.
Besides, Tugade pointed out that the modernization program has a three-year “window” to discuss its implementation. /kga
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