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3-day transport strike to coincide with Marcos’ 2nd SONA

Several transport groups are set to conduct a three-day transport strike that will coincide with the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

A report by Super Radyo dzBB's Allan Gatus quoted Malayang Alyansa ng Bus Employees at Laborers (MANIBELA) national president Mar Valbuena as saying that the transport strike will be held on July 24 to July 26.

Marcos will deliver his second SONA on July 24 this year.

Participants of the transport strike, the report said, will come from Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

MANIBELA, which has around 3,000 members, said that other provinces have expressed inclination to joining the transport holiday.

“Ito po ang sasalubong sa inyo sa SONA kung hindi ninyo tatanggalin at masosolusyunan yung problema po ng mga traditional jeepney,” Valbuena said in Joseph Morong's report on “24 Oras” on Wednesday.

The group says its drivers have been deprived of routes by local governments and corporations under the government's route rationalization plan.

The PUV modernization program requires traditional jeepney drivers to form cooperatives or corporations, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will provide the cooperatives with routes.

The group says the routes are up for bidding for up to P5 million, and that this is happening in the National Capital Region and the Southern Tagalog, Western Visayas and Ilocos regions.

“Unti-unti pong kinakain 'yung mga ruta, mga local politicians na po ang nagmamay-ari ng mga ruta. Kung sino po ang may kakayanan na magbayad ng ruta doon po nila ina-award ito. Saan po kami kukuha ng pantatapat po dito,” said Valbuena.

The transport group worries that even if they consolidate, they still won't get a route.

“Kapag monopolyo na po ito, yung atin pong mananakay ang magsa-suffer dito, walang habas po na pagtaas ng pamasahe ang mangyayari,” Valbuena added.

MANIBELA, which has around 3,000 members, said that other provinces are inclined to join the transport holiday.

They are also calling for the resignations of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III.

In addition, some group members disclosed that someone had been able to obtain aid from the government using their name.

Jeepney operator Perfecto Josue pointed to a document showing his name and a unit of his that was no longer in operation beside a grant of P6,500 in government aid.

“E patay na nga yung unit, bakit nagkaroon ng fuel subsidy? Magkano hatian? Pati yung unit ko na matagal nang hindi tumatakbo, winithdraw ‘yung pera,” an angry Josue demanded.

GMA Integrated News sought a statement from NCR LTFRB Regional Director Zora Tamayo, who directed the questions to the LTFRB central office. Bautista, meanwhile, told the team to talk to Guadiz.

"Let me investigate," Guadiz replied. —Giselle Ombay and Sherylin Untalan/KBK/BM, GMA Integrated News