Transport group PISTON on Monday called on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to suspend the implementation of the guidelines for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
"Kailangan harapin ng ating pamahalaan lalo na ni BBM na kung puwede niyang gawin ay maglabas siya ng executive order na i-suspende yung implementation nung [Department of Transportation Order No.] 2017-011 na ito, 'yung omnibus franchising deadline,” PISTON president Mody Floranda said on Unang Balita.
(The government should face our concerns, especially Marcos, if he could issue an executive order suspending the implementation Department Order No. 2017-011, which is the omnibus franchising deadline.)
Floranda said this when asked if they would stop their week-long strike if the government responds to their concerns.
Department Order No. 2017-011 or Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance is the core policy of the PUVMP.
The week-long transport strike pushed through on Monday.
The strike push through even though the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) extended the June 30 deadline for jeepney operators to form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.
The extension was given after Marcos said the planned modernization of jeepneys, although needed, is not "urgent."
According to Floranda, the PUVMP was a “bogus” modernization because it does not serve drivers, operators and the economy.
He also questioned the government for directing drivers and operators to replace their traditional jeepneys with modernized “minibus” models.
“Kaya kung ang layunin ng gobyerno para i-angat 'yung antas ng ating public transport dapat po ang gawin ng gobyerno ay maglikha ng sarili nating insdustriya tayo mismo ang gagawa ng ating mga sasakyan,” he said.
(If the government aims to elevate the status of our public transport, it should create our own industry where we will produce our own vehicles.)
PISTON and other groups including student organizations gathered at University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City on Monday morning.
Meanwhile in Monumento in Caloocan, some jeepneys stopped operating as early as 6:30 a.m, according to Jonathan Andal's report on Unang Balita.
Some commuters left their homes earlier than usual to catch more jeepneys on the road as the transport strike was set to start at 6 a.m.
According to some jeepney drivers, they will participate in the transport strike to show to the government the importance of this mode of transportation to the public.
Some of them said that the modern jeepneys are so expensive that they have to pay for them for a lifetime. They also expressed concern about the additional expenses for maintenance.
Northern Police District director Police Brigadier General Ponce Rogelio Quinoñes said police will arrest those who would harass drivers who opted not to join the strike.
In a separate interview, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Romando Artes said around 1,000 vehicles, including those deployed by local governments, are on standby to offer free rides.
“May mga areas na po na medyo kinukulang 'yung sasakyang pampubliko. Nag-deploy na po tayo doon (There are already areas lacking public transport vehicles. We already deployed vehicles offering free rides there),” he said.
According to him, the MMDA will assess the situation if the lifting of the expanded number coding scheme in Metro Manila would be extended. The scheme was lifted only for Monday.
The transport strike has prompted several local government units to implement blended learning or online classes in schools. —KBK, GMA Integrated News