Marcos thanks transport groups for deciding to quit weeklong strike
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday thanked the transport groups for deciding to quit their weeklong strike on the second day on Tuesday.
Malayang Alyansa ng Bus Employees at Laborers (MANIBELA) and (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide) PISTON planned to go on a week-long strike to ask the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to scrap the PUV modernization program which requires them to join cooperatives or corporations.
“Well, I’m glad. I’m thankful and I think they feel that have made their point very clearly that we have to examine this (public utilization vehicle utilization program) and study it closely,” Marcos said in an ambush interview.
Marcos said the transition to electric vehicles should be done slowly and will not cause jeepney operators and drivers to lose their jobs.
“Of course, it is important that their vehicles are safe and if we enter the era of electric vehicles, we should do it slowly. They say their problem is that maybe no one will loan them money to buy new vehicles. So we are ensuring that no one will lose their jobs just because they couldn’t buy an electric vehicle. That time will come. We haven’t reached that point yet,” Marcos said.
“But for now, what we are doing to is to ensure that the vehicles are safe and that it will not put passengers and commuters at risk,” he added.
Marcos said that postponing the deadline for consolidation to the end of the year would give transport groups enough time to comply.
He also said now was the right time to fix the system of inspecting jeepneys and when to replace them.
After meeting with Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil and Office of the Executive Secretary Undersecretary Roy Cervantes late Tuesday, MANIBELA National President Mar Valbuena and PISTON chairman Mody Floranda have decided to quit the strike.
“We are not hindering the plan to modernize the public transport. We just hope that they will implement this in a way where no one is left behind, as well as humanely and reasonably. We are going to hold on to the statement of our beloved President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. that said that the administration is open to reviewing and revising the implementation of the PUV (public utility vehicle) modernization program to sustain the livelihood of the PUV drivers and operators,” Valbuena said in a video posted by the Presidential Communications Office.
“For this reason, to be able to start the discourse, our group decided to stop the strike together with PISTON and we will start plying again tomorrow,” he added.
Valbuena apologized to passengers inconvenienced by the strike and thanked them for their understanding.
He also assured the members of transport groups that the jeepneys would remain on the road.
“To our members, please don’t worry. With our progress and change, we will make sure that the King of the Road will stay,” Valbuena said.
On their Facebook page, MANIBELA said: “We resume our operations. There is no phaseout!”
The LTFRB welcomed the transport groups’ decision to stop the protest.
In a statement released Wednesday, LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said: “We have never wavered in asking our friends from MANIBELA and PISTON to sit down with us, to thresh out their concerns about the PUVMP and the modernization of the public transportation industry. We are glad they listened to our President.”
The LTFRB in a memorandum circular approved in February announced that operators and drivers had until June 30 to be part of cooperatives or corporations, but it was eventually extended to December 31. Jaspearl Tan/DMS