Cebu News

Police bracing for PUV strike

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Romeo Marantal - The Freeman
Police bracing for PUV strike
Photos show modern jeepneys and traditional jeepneys as they wait for passengers along Escoda Street in Manila on April 13, 2024.
Ryan Baldemor/The Philippine STAR

CEBU, Philippines — The Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 said that while it received no information that public transport operators in Central Visayas intend to join a nationwide strike tomorrow and Tuesday, it is preparing for the eventuality.

This developed as local government units (LGUs) should ensure that all operating public transportation vehicles have appropriate franchises or certificates of public convenience (CPC) from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), before they are allowed to use transport terminals and ply their routes.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of PRO-7 spokesperson, they would be ready to keep and protect the peace if there would be protesters who would instigate disorder.

He reminded those who would hold rallies and demonstrations to keep a peaceful assembly.

Pelare said that while PRO-7 recognizes freedom of expression and association, they should be exercised in accordance with the law. He assured that would not hesitate to enforce the law, arrest the violators, and prosecute them.

Transport groups in Luzon have threatened to hold a strike to protest against the approaching deadline for the consolidation of franchises of public utility vehicles, as set by the government’s Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has already announced that the deadline would no longer be extended again.

On the colorum vehicles, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos made the order following the arrest of a woman who claimed to be his distant relative, after authorities apprehended her colorum vehicle driven by a man using a fake driver’s license.

Abalos also directed LGUs to conduct inspections of public utility vehicles in terminals within their jurisdiction and along local roads through checkpoints, and report colorum operators to the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

He had already issued a memorandum which instructed LGUs, through their Sanggunians, to pass an ordinance banning colorum operators from using their transport terminals.

“This has been a persistent issue on the ground. I am directing our LGUs na tiyaking hindi makapag-operate ang mga colorum operators na ito," Abalos said.

He said LGUs should ensure all operating public transportation entities secure appropriate franchises or the CPC from the LTFRB. A CPC is an authorization issued by the LTFRB for the operation of land transportation services for public use, as required by law.

“At the end of the day, ang safety ng ating mga pasahero ang ating gustong mabantayan ditto. Kaya napakahalaga na manguna ang ating mga LGUs upang matigil ang operasyon ng mga colorum operators na ito,” he also said.

Abalos likewise ordered LGUs to come up with more rigid regulations against unlicensed vehicles and their illegal operations, based on LTFRB and the DOTr guidelines, and identify other measures in safeguarding public transportation within their areas of jurisdiction.

Sought for his comment, Councilor Rey Gealon, Cebu City Traffic Management Coordination Committee head, said he was happy with the order.

“'I’m an advocate for passenger safety and reliable public transport system, which is why I filed before the Sanggunian numerous legislative measures to crack down on vehicles operating illegally or without authority, CPC, or franchise as PUVs,” he said.

In response to the directive, he said the Cebu City Transportation Office personnel were advised to launch massive operations against colorum vehicles.

“There must be a deliberate action and heightened awareness against these unauthorized and illegal vehicles, as these would be detrimental to public safety and general welfare,” Gealon said. — (FREEMAN)

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