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Day 1 of colorum PUJ crackdown generally peaceful

MANILA, Philippines —  The jeepney protest against the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) was peaceful and quiet, the National Capital Region Police Office said, despite unconsolidated transport groups vowing to continue to ply their routes.

NCRPO spokesperson Lt. Col. Eunice Salas said there were no reported significant incidents and the situation was normal, even as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) yesterday ordered the start of anti-colorum operations nationwide.

Mar Valbuena, Manibela president, said they would continue to operate because they do not recognize the mass revocation of their franchises, noting that the group still has pending legal recourses to question the franchise revocation and the government’s PUVMP.

He argued that the LTFRB should first seek the approval of Congress before revoking the franchises of thousands of jeepneys nationwide.

Manibela and Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide or PISTON protested outside the LTFRB central office in Quezon City and called for the resignation of its chief, Teofilo Guadiz, claiming that he mishandled the PUVMP. The militant groups Anakbayan and Bayan Muna also joined the protest.

Salas told The STAR that the NCRPO deployed mobility assets metro-wide to provide assistance to commuters if the need arises, during the first day of the colorum PUJ crackdown.

“The NCRPO made sure that we have a sufficient number of vehicles on standby and staff ready to respond and provide assistance to passengers affected by the first day of implementation of the PUV Modernization Program,” Salas added.

Guadiz earlier said only about 10,000 jeepney units – including 1,900 jeepneys in Metro Manila – have not consolidated nationwide.

The LTFRB said the apprehension of unconsolidated PUVs will be spearheaded by the Land Transportation Office, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Philippine National Police.

The board has directed consolidated units to display their franchise documents on their windshields to avoid apprehension.

Drivers could face a one-year suspension of license, P50,000 fine for the operator, and a 30-day impoundment for the