TRANSPORT group Manibela will hold another nationwide strike on Tuesday, January 16, 2023, to again express their opposition to the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program (PUVMP).
In a press conference, Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena said some 10,000 members of their group across the country have committed to join the transport holiday.
In Metro Manila, drivers/operators will stage a picket protest at the University of the Philippines in Diliman in Quezon City and then they will proceed to Mendiola, near Malacañang.
He said protest actions will also be conducted in various provinces in the country.
Valbuena said they will call for the extension of their provisional authority if not the total abandonment of the PUVPM.
“Ang pakiusap natin sa ating mga congressman ay hindi extension ng deadline of consolidation ang aprubahan, kung hindi extension ng aming mga franchise. Ibalik ng five years na validity habang-uusapan ito (PUV modernization program),” he added.
Under the PUVMP, drivers/operators are required to consolidate into a cooperative to ensure the renewal of their franchises of provisional authority.
The deadline for consolidation was on December 31.
Those who failed to comply with the consolidation policy can only operate until January 31 only in routes with no enough jeepneys or those without cooperatives at all.
In a television interview, Office of the Transportation Cooperatives which is under the Department of Transportation Chairman Andy Ortega maintained that unconsolidated PUV’s will be considered colorum by February 1 and that they can be apprehended.
“‘Yung sa mga alam nilang hindi naman sila pwedeng bumyahe, ika nga, wala na silang prangkisa, kusa sila dapat hindi na bumiyahe para wala nang pinaguusapang hulihan,” he said.
“‘Yun ang pinaka-importante dito, na ikaw mismo, alam mo na, hindi ka dapat bumiyahe, wag ka nang bumiyahe para hindi magkagulo o magkaron ng konting mga friction,” he added.
Unconsolidated operators/drivers may opt to join existing cooperatives or consolidated PUV entities.
In a hearing with the House Committee on Transportation, some drivers/ operators expressed their concerns over the consolidation policy as some of them lost ownership of their units after joining a cooperative and were even slapped with carnapping charges.
Committee Vice Chair Dan Fernandez later called for the passage of a resolution urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reconsider his earlier decision to not allow the extension for consolidation deadline. (SunStar Philippines)