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Marcos hopes transport strike won't push through

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday expressed hope that the week-long transport strike would not push through.

Marcos said the government would talk with transport groups to discuss the PUV modernization program. He is hoping that groups will not push through with their plans, as this will adversely affect commuters.

"I'm hoping na dito sa mga initiatives na iniisip natin eh makumbinsi naman natin ang mga transport groups na huwag na muna mag-strike dahil kawawa talaga ang mga tao at marami pang naghihirap at mas lalo pang maghihirap 'pag hindi makapasok sa trabaho," Marcos said in an ambush interview.

(I'm hoping that with our initiatives, we can convince transport groups not to hold the strike because commuters will suffer, especially if they can't go to work.)

Several jeepney drivers have appealed to the government to give them more time to shift to modern jeepneys, but the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has given operators only until June 30 to comply, following several deadline extensions.

Due to this, transport groups warned of a week-long transport strike that could paralyze the transport system. The planned transport holiday in the National Capital Region and Region 3 is from March 6 to 12.

"Ngayon, sa issue sa modernization na sinasabi, sa aking palagay, ay kailangan ding gawin talaga 'yan. Ngunit, sa pag-aaral ko, parang hindi naging maganda ang implementation nung modernization," Marcos said.

(On the modernization issue, I think we still need to do that. But based on my studies, the implementation was not good.)

"Tama naman 'yun. Kailangan safe 'yung mga jeepney, 'yung mga tricycle, 'yung mga bus, kailangan safe 'yan. Pero iba-iba 'yung naging standards na ginawa," he added.

(That's correct. Jeepneys, tricycles, and buses must be safe. However, the standards used vary.)

Marcos said that there is a need to "look properly at what the real timetable is for the introduction of electric vehicles." 

"'Yung modernization siguro, we have to look properly at what the real timetable is for the introduction of electric vehicles. Kung talagang kailangan... kung puwede na ngayon... palagay ko hindi pa puwede ngayon. Thirty percent pa lang ng power natin is renewable eh. So hindi pa urgent sa ngayon. Hindi pa kaya ng imprastraktura natin. So we have to build that up," he said.

(Regarding modernization, we have to look properly at what the real timetable is for the introduction of electric vehicles. If it's really needed, I think now is not the right time. Only 30% of our power sources are renewable, so it's not urgent right now because our infrastructure can't keep up. So we have to build that up.)

Asked if the planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys on June 30 would proceed, Marcos responded: "'Yun ang dapat pag-usapan (That needs to be discussed)."

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.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Tuesday stressed there is a need to modernize public utility vehicles, adding that scrapping the program is not the right thing to do.

"'Yung pagbasura ng modernization program natin ay siguro ay hindi naman tama. Kailangan i-modernize natin 'yung ating public utility vehicles... ang tawag ko nga diyan 'yung CASA sa amin sa transport sector, CASA is very important no? CASA means na convenient, accessible, safe and secure, and affordable," Bautista said.

(Scrapping the modernization program is not right. We need to modernize public utility vehicles. I call that as CASA in the transport sector, CASA is very important, it means convenient, accessible, safe and secure, and affordable.) —KG/VBL, GMA Integrated News