DOTr’s Bautista wants dialogue with transport groups ahead of planned strike
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Monday called on transport groups to have first a dialogue with concerned officials before holding a week-long strike that can paralyze the transport system.
The planned transport holiday in the National Capital Region and Region 3 from March 6 to 12 will be done to express opposition to the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.
Bautista said a dialogue must be done to understand each other's positions regarding the modernization program.
“You know siguro dapat pag-isipan nating mabuti ‘yung pag-stop ng operations. Dapat mag-usap-usap muna. Let’s understand what the issues are kasi baka hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan,” Bautista said in a statement.
(We should think first about stopping the transport operations. We should discuss this first. Let's understand what the issues are because maybe we just don't understand each other.)
“Ang problema yata ay hindi nagkaroon ng representatives ang DOTr doon sa mga discussions para ma-clarify kung anuman ‘yung mga issues,” he added.
(I think the problem is that the DOTr had no representative during the discussions to clarify the issues.)
Bautista said he already tasked the Undersecretary for Road Sector to coordinate with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and with the operators regarding the matter.
He also clarified that the government is "giving ample time to transport groups to muster enough funds to buy new units for their operations in line with the government’s PUV modernization program."
Bautista said there would be no phase out of old jeepney units in areas where groups could not acquire new units for their designated routes.
“Pero doon sa mga areas na alam naman natin talagang mahirap kaagad kumuha ng mga bagong equipment ay bibigyan natin ng pagkakataon ‘yung mga operators na mag-join muna doon sa mga cooperatives na mag-consolidate para matulungan din sila na makakuha ng mga bagong equipment,” Bautista said.
(But in areas where we know the drivers would have a hard time getting new equipment, we will give them a chance to join cooperatives that can assist them.)
The PUV modernization program aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels. Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises, but as part of transport cooperatives.
Several jeepney drivers have appealed to the government to give them more time to shift to modern jeepneys, but the LTFRB has given operators only until June 30 to comply after already extending the deadline several times. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News