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Week-long transport strike to push through, says group

The week-long transport holiday being organized by transportation groups will push through despite the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) decision to extend the deadline for jeepney operators to join or form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.

“Isa lang ang sasabihin ko, tuloy po ang tigil-pasada,” Mar Valbuena, chairperson of the transport group Manibela, said in an interview over dzBB’s Super Radyo on Wednesday.

(I will only say one thing: the transport strike will push through.)

The LTFRB earlier said it would issue a new memorandum circular which would extend the scheduled June 30 deadline for the consolidation. Valbuena said he has yet to see a copy of the document but he was informed it did not include solutions to one of their grievances.

“2021 pinutol ang consolidation. May mga iba-ibang transport cooperative tapos nung pinutol 'yun, di kami natapos, basura na. Back to zero. Ngayon, kung gusto namin sumali, po-proseso ulit kami pero doon na sa naunang kooperatiba na nag-comply,” he said.

(They ended the consolidation in 2021. There are many transport cooperatives and our efforts were wasted after it ended. Back to zero. Now they told us that if we want to join the modernization, we may process it but we need to apply under the cooperatives that were approved before.)

“Ano implications nito? Hindi na kami magiging kooperatiba. 'Yung mga miyembro po namin na kasama sa kooperatiba sasali sa existing kooperatiba na naunang nakapag-comply o napayagan. Ano mangyayari don? Magm-miyembro na naman kami….May membership fee na naman. Panibagong gastos ulit,” said.

(What are the implications? We won’t be cooperative anymore. Our members will have to join existing groups that were approved. What does it mean? We have to register again and we’ll have to pay membership fees anew. That’s another expense for us.)

According to Valbuena, around 40,000 public utility vehicles (PUV) will join the strike that could paralyze the transport system in Metro Manila from March 6 to March 12, 2023.

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

Jeepney drivers and operators are required to join or form cooperatives under the PUV Modernization Program, which 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. — Sundy Locus/BM, GMA Integrated News