Transport groups to protest vs new franchise program

CALLING it “economically unsustainable,” a transport group will hold a national protest today against several components of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, including the implementation of alternative transport systems.

In Cebu City, among those that the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) Cebu Chapter is protesting for is the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. Despite the nationwide simultaneous protest, Piston will not be holding a transport strike.

Greg Perez, Piston Cebu coordinator, said that the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines will push for the phaseout of public utility vehicles (PUV) and pave the way for road rationalization, among others.

In Cebu City alone, Perez said at least 20 PUV routes in major roads will soon be made exclusive to the BRT, leaving drivers and sidewalk vendors in a compromised situation.

Piston has a total of 20,000 PUV driver-members nationwide, 500 of which are from Cebu.

“Paghatag og dako nga halin o ginansya sa mga dagko nga negosyante ang tumong sa implementation sa BRT, dili ang mga kabus nga katawhan ang makabenepisyo kon dili ang mga adunahan (Only the rich will benefit from the implementation of the BRT and not the poor),” he told SunStar Cebu.

Asked if Piston had raised its concerns during the stakeholders consultation the BRT implementation team earlier called, Perez said they were only told of what options would displace PUV drivers have and not asked about their sentiments on the project.

Sought for comment, lawyer Rafael Yap, BRT project manager, said that while they understand the underlying sentiments of those that will be displaced, they have been conducting consultation meetings for the past two years.

“There’s a skepticism and we understand that. But the BRT has been a known generator of employment around the world. There’s a high possibility of those that will be displaced being hired,” he said. (RTF)
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