MANILA –The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) believes that Monday’s transport strike by various jeepney operators and drivers against the jeepney modernization program of government has not paralyzed public transportation in Metro Manila and other areas across the country.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said the agency only observed sporadic protests in Metro Manila while there were no strikes in all the regions of the country except Region 3.
Lizada said it has identified nine staging areas for protest actions in Metro Manila wherein private buses, government vehicles and vessels were prepositioned to ferry stranded passengers.
Among the vehicles that were deployed are buses from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and various bus operators, military trucks from the Philippine Army, dump trucks from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), among others.
Around 4,800 military and police officers and nonuniformed officers/employees of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), LTFRB, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Office of Transport Security (OTS) were also deployed.
Meanwhile, the routes that were heavily affected by today’s transport strike are Baclaran-Nichols, Valenzuela-Karuhatan, Market Market-C5-FTI Taguig, C5-Taguig-Ususan, Rizal Avenue-Blumentritt.
Lizada said only transport groups Stop and Go and Piston participate in today’s strike while Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP), Liga ng Transportation at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP), Pasang Masda and 1-Utak did not join as agreed upon in a dialogue with the MMDA and the LTFRB which eased the impact of the protest actions.
The LTFRB official appealed for understanding to passengers who were affected by today’s strike. “We are trying our best that the passengers will not be incovenienced,” she said.
She reiterated that public utility vehicles (PUVs) shall not resort to cessation of service as a sign or demonstration of protest against any government decision or action.
The Board will not tolerate personnel to join others committing acts prejudicial to the riding public, including but not limited to, paralyzing transport services by intimidation, coercion or violence. “Do not abuse the privilege that was given to you,” Lizada said.
She also disclosed that there have been reports of harassments against drivers who did not participate in the transport strike.
The LTFRB is determining the identities of those who committed these abuses and sanctions will be imposed against them.
The Board warned that suspension or cancellation of franchises will be meted out against those found to have participated in the strike.
Under the modernization program, the DOTr will impose a 15-year age limit on public utility jeepneys (PUJs) as it aims to modernize the fleet of jeepneys plying the roads through a low carbon and low emission vehicle technology.
Standards on carbon emission and fleet management and maintenance would also be imposed to ensure passenger safety, and improve ambient air quality.
To address public utility jeepney (PUJ) operators’ and drivers’ concern of undue economic burden from having to purchase brand new PUJ units, the government would allow them to apply for loans with the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The DOTr would set up a guarantee fund to secure the loans of the PUJ operators and drivers.