"'LET'S play chicken' are my harsh words to those who insist to go on strike."
This was stressed by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-Western Visayas Director Richard Osmeña after the major transport groups in Bacolod City confirmed to join in a nationwide transport strike Monday, September 30.
"I will literally enforce the full force of the law. Let me remind you, The Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) or more commonly known as a franchise, is a privilege granted by the government to those who have qualified," Osmeña said in a statement.
He said the CPC carries with its terms, conditions and prohibitions which the operator of a public utility vehicle (PUV) are required to comply based on MC 2011-004.
He added that one of the prohibitions therein is for the operator not to join transport strikes to voice out their sentiments, and the CPC being a privilege being granted by the government may be recalled or canceled by the government if the operator commits or violates any of the terms, conditions and prohibitions of the franchise.
In a joint statement issued by the Sentrong Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Negros (SSTONE) and Federation Bacolod City Drivers Association (Febacda), the protest stemmed over the government's public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, which will be implemented on July 1, 2020.
Both groups said they strongly oppose the phase out of old PUVs and replacing them with Class 3 vehicles being peddled by the LTFRB which costs P2.4 million per unit.
They claimed under the LTFRB's plans, all transport cooperatives will ultimately be abolished and subsumed by the corporations.
"As the Regional Director of LTFRB-6, I say don't you dare try my patience. I will be very strict with all violators, those who have proven to be joining the transport strike, if proven guilty. Mark my words, I will cancel all their franchises. It will literally make my job whole lot easier. I will automatically replace you with the modern PUVs," Osmeña said.
"This simple take it or leave it. If you defer to modernize there are a lot more who have the capacity to run these routes. Let us not punish the riding public who in the end will be the victims of this futile transport strike. If you have your sentiments with the government, there are always other venues which maybe more effective than staging a transport strike," he said.
On Friday, September 27, Acting Mayor El Cid Familiaran signed Executive Order No. 28 declaring the suspension of classes due to the nationwide transport strike.
The nationwide protest by various transport groups on Monday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., takes aim against the implementation of the public utility vehicle (PUJ) modernization program by the national government.
The transport groups from Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, will join the transport strike which is expected to paralyze 70 percent of the city's major routes in the morning and 99 percent by lunch time.
Familiaran said that only classes will be suspended while government offices will be open for business transactions.
The city government will also deploy vehicles in various areas.
The city's two buses will be deployed in areas of Barangay Sum-ag-Hall and Barangay Bata-Pepsi. IPM trucks will also be deployed in the areas of Barangays Granada, Mansilingan, and Handumanan going to the Bacolod Government Center.