3-day 'tigil pasada' vs PUV phaseout to coincide with Marcos Jr.'s 2nd SONA

James Relativo - Philstar.com
3-day 'tigil pasada' vs PUV phaseout to coincide with Marcos Jr.'s 2nd SONA
Signage that reads "No Vaccine No Ride" (L) is seen on the windshield of a passenger jeepney in Quezon City, suburban Manila on January 17, 2022, as the Philippine government banned unvaccinated people from using public transport amid a record surge in coronavirus cases.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa, File

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups are set to stage another strike starting on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s second State of the Nation Address, this amid continuing uncertainty for drivers and operators regarding the state's public utility vehicle modernization program.

This comes two days after MANIBELA president Mar Valbuena went live on Facebook to complain about how Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista "ignored" the government's earlier promise to include the transport sector in revisiting The Department of Transportation's 2017 Omnibus Franchising Guidelines.

The said guideline aims to replace traditional jeepneys with more environmentally-friendly fuels and engines, vehicles that cost up to P2.8 million per unit which many drivers and operators cannot afford.

"Nationwide Transport Strike! July 24, 25 and 26! This will coincide with SONA! Let's all unite mga ka-MANIBELA," the group said in Filipino a this Wednesday.



According to a report by state-owned PTV, around 300,000 of MANIBELA's members are set to join the said protest.

Members of transport group MANIBELA and PISTON last March planned a week-long transport strike last March after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board announced that individual operators of traditional jeepneys will no be allowed to operate after June 30 unless they join a cooperative or corporation.

This was later moved to December 31, with transport groups ending their "tigil-pasada" after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agreed to study the revision of the highly controversial PUV modernization program.

"It's almost been five months since the said discussions. Up to now, no study has taken place," added Valbuena in a video last Monday.

"If studies have already started, not one of our representatives have been invited... It's almost President Bongbong Marcos Jr.'s SONA."

LGUs to handle routes?

According to Valbuena, they have listened and given Bautista the chance. However, the transport leader said that they won't wait until December 31 to take action.

"Routes are already being awarded to rich politicians and large corporations," the MANIBELA leader claimed. Valbuena said that the DOTr and LTFRB "weren't following" the president's promise that there would be no phaseout.

Philstar.com had sought comment from Bautista and the LTFRB but they have yet to respond as of this post.

RELATED: Jeepney 'modernization' risks corporate takeover of transport sector — UP paper

PISTON also to protest on Bongbong's SONA

In an interview with Philstar.com, PISTON president Mody Floranda shared that the transport group is ready to join the three-day transport strike. The group, which has been vocal in its opposition to the jeepney phaseout, will be joining protests on the day of the SONA.

"We call for the junking of [Department Order] 2017-011 [or Omnibus Franchising Guidelines] and the return of five year franchises for jeepneys... We call for affordable modernization in the form of rehabilitation of public transport," said Floranda.

"PISTON has always ready for whatever mobilization... [We] will join protests on BBM's second SONA to drum up the plight of the common driver and operator when it comes to the bogus and fake modernization program."


Floranda also clarified that they are not totally opposed to the idea of replacing traditional jeepneys, this while forwarding the need of the Philippines to industrialize and manufacture its own modern vehicles to develop the economy.

The progressive group is set to file a position paper at the Office of the President which they will compliment with a protest at Mendiola come July 17.

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