3-day transport strike begins today

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The three-day transport strike begins today following assurance by Manibela president Mar Valbuena that various mobilization centers will be established, even as unconsolidated public utility jeepneys (PUJs) have asked the government to allow them to operate for at least one year.

Valbuena yesterday also reiterated an appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

The SC has yet to rule on the petitions filed in December 2023 questioning the legality of the PUVMP.

“We are hoping that the Supreme Court will finally rule in favor of our petition, as we have been waiting (for the TRO), as many drivers (of traditional jeepneys) have been suffering. It is not only us (members of Manibela and fellow transport group Piston), but also the other drivers who are silently waiting. We hope that the Supreme Court will do its mandate for the people,” he said.

Valbuena added that Manibela strike centers are situated in Novaliches, Alabang, Parañaque, Marikina and Quezon City.

At the same time, he belittled the threat of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that the crackdown on colorum PUJs will start.

“How can they apprehend us when in fact, we will not operate as we have our respective strike centers,” Valbuena added.

He questioned the validity of the campaign against unconsolidated PUJs despite the absence of a memorandum from the LTFRB.

“There is no memo (on the supposed crackdown on colorum PUJs), as no less than the LTFRB said that the memo is still being drafted,” Valbuena noted.

According to him, at least three members of Manibela were apprehended despite the absence of clear guidelines on how to implement the crackdown against PUJs.

“Our members contested the apprehension made by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as they failed to present a memo on the unconsolidated (PUJs). There was no violation,” Valbuena said.

He challenged the LTFRB to conduct a nationwide crackdown on colorum PUJs, and not just for limited numbers, to prove the extent of the number of traditional jeepneys that did not join the consolidation.

“What we are complaining is that if they want to make apprehension, they should do it simultaneously. They (LTFRB) want to make it appear that there are enough public transports. The fact that many did not consolidate, once the apprehension is done simultaneously, commuters will be affected,” Valbuena said.

He added that many drivers are still hoping that they can ply their routes with the one-year extension so that unconsolidated jeepneys can still operate.

“This (one-year extension) was discussed during the hearing at the House of Representatives, so that we can prove that we can comply with modernization without joining the cooperatives,” he noted.

The three-month extension for traditional jeepneys to consolidate ended on April 30, 2024 after it was extended by President Marcos, as the original deadline for the PUVMP was on Dec. 31, 2023.

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