Jeepney phase-out to continue amid transport strike, Palace says

Public transport drivers and supporters stage a die-in along a busy Manila avenue to signal a planned two-day public transport strike nationwide to protest the government's phase-out of the WWII-era passenger transport locally known as "Jeepney" Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The protesters scored the government for the "Jeepneys" phase-out which will be replaced allegedly with not-so-affordable models. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The government would continue the jeepney modernization program despite the strong opposition of groups behind Monday’s transport strike, Malacañang said.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the program, which would involve the phase-out of old public utility vehicles, is “long overdue.”

“The administration remains committed to the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVVMP), which is long overdue,” Abella said.  

“There were several attempts in the past to modernize the public transport system but these have been thwarted due to similar transport strikes, which unfortunately resulted in an outdated public transport system,” he added.

READ: Why some transport groups oppose jeepney phaseout

Abella said the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board would continue to consult with PUV operators and drivers and inform them about the financial schemes that would allow them to avail of new units.

He claimed that different public transport groups are supportive of the program, which critics claimed would burden transport workers and cause fare hikes.

Abella said the government had contingency measures to assist commuters affected by the nationwide transport strike.

READ: Gov't deploys 54 vehicles in Metro Manila for jeepney strike

He said close to 80 buses, military trucks, vans and service vehicles were deployed by various agencies to provide free rides to stranded passengers.

The Metro Manila Development Authority has also identified six areas where passengers could avail of free rides namely Commonwealth Avenue, Luneta Grandstand, Orense Guadalupe, SM Marikina, Manila Central University and HK Plaza.

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