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Some transport groups oppose upcoming week-long strike

Leaders of transport groups Pasang Masda and Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP) on Saturday slammed the week-long transport strike planned by some of their colleagues.
At the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, Pasang Masda president Obet Martin said that no transport strike lasted beyond two days.
Martin went on to claim that transport strike leader and Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena has no record with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as an operator of any mode of public transportation.
“Kaya itong taong (Valbuena) ito nanggugulo lang ito,” the Pasang Masda president said.
LTOP president Orlando Marquez echoed Martin’s claims, saying, “Mar Valbuena wala kang karapatan… Hindi ka naman operator, wala ka sa listahan ng LTFRB pero nanggugulo ka.”

Sought for comment, Valbuena refuted the claims of Martin and Marquez.
“Operator po ako ng jeepney at UV [Express],” Valbuena said.
He also showed GMA News Online a document from the LTFRB indicating that his certificate of public convenience to operate a public utility jeepney service has been extended.
“Nilalayo lang po ng mga ‘yan ‘yung totoong issue…,” Valbuena said.
Despite the LTFRB’s decision to extend the June 30, 2023 deadline for jeepney operators to join or form cooperatives to December 31, 2023, Valbuena said on Wednesday that the week-long transport strike would push through.
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.
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 environmentally friendly fuels.
Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises, but only as part of transport cooperatives.
In support of the PUV Modernization Program, Martin said that the consolidation of jeepney operator’s operations into a single cooperative will result in proper dispatching of units and drivers.
“Mawawala na ang awayan ng mga driver dahil wala ng individual operators. Susweldo na sila. magkakaroon ng proper dispatching, tamang kita,” Martin said.
Marquez also appealed to those who will join the strike to have a dialogue with the government concerning the modernization program.
“Inaabot na ng gobyerno ang kamay nila sana naman pakinggan nila,” Marquez said.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the government’s preparations for the transport strike include the deployment of assets to help commuters, as well as a possible one-hour extension of train services and a possible suspension of the number coding scheme.
The LTFRB earlier projected that only 6% of PUVs nationwide would join the activity. 
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday expressed hope that the transport strike would not push through. — VBL, GMA Integrated News