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Attention commuters: There’s another transport strike on December 14 and 15

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Transport group PISTON announced on Tuesday that it will stage another transport strike starting December 14 to protest the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

The strike, which will last for two days, aims to pressure the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to scrap the December 31 consolidation deadline and to demand the “complete removal” of the PUVMP.

The PUVMP is a flagship program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) that seeks to phase out old and dilapidated jeepneys and replace them with modern and environment-friendly vehicles.

One of the key components of the PUVMP is franchise consolidation, which requires all operators to surrender individual franchises for consolidation into a single one owned by a cooperative or corporation serving a specific route. The LTFRB calls this principle “one route, one franchise, one operator.”

However, PISTON argues that this scheme leads to monopoly and corporate capture of public transport in the Philippines, as only large, financially viable cooperatives or corporations can comply with the costly modernization standards.

PISTON national president Mody Floranda said that the franchise consolidation will result in the displacement of thousands of small operators and drivers who cannot afford to join cooperatives or buy new units.

He also said that the PUVMP does not address the root causes of the problems in the transport sector, such as the lack of mass transit systems, the deregulation of oil prices, and the corruption in the LTFRB.

On the other hand, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced that the deadline of December 31, 2023, for the consolidation of public utility vehicle (PUV) operators under the PUV Modernization Program will remain.

According to PBBM, any further delay in the program, which aims to ensure a reliable transportation system in the country, will affect most of the operators, financial institutions, and the public.

He said that the government is committed to providing assistance and incentives to the operators who will comply with the program, and urged them to cooperate with the government’s efforts to modernize the transport sector.

He also appealed to the public to support the PUVMP, which he said will benefit not only the commuters but also the environment and the economy.

The LTFRB reiterated that the PUVMP is a necessary reform to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of public transport in the country.

Featured image: PNA photo by Yancy Lim

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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