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Piston eyes transport strike

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the impending crackdown on traditional jeepneys, drivers and operators are planning to hold a transport strike in Metro Manila as the deadline set by the government to comply with the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) ends on April 30.

In an interview with The STAR yesterday, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) president Mody Floranda said they have asked President Marcos to order a review of the PUVMP before the end of the three-month extension he ordered. 

“We condemn the impending crackdown as we all know that jeepney drivers and operators are really suffering,” Floranda said.

He was reacting to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Teofilo Guadiz’s statement that the LTFRB would go after colorum public utility jeepneys starting May 1.

“During our meeting with Chairman Guadiz last week, we asked him to study the PUVMP. That’s what we are demanding, especially now that many of those who joined the consolidation program have withdrawn from corporations because since operators joined the cooperatives, they lost their source of income,” Floranda said.

Aside from a transport strike, Floranda said Piston and transport group Manibela are planning to launch rallies.

“For us, holding a transport strike is always an option. We are prepared for all forms of protests, including big rallies,” he said.

Floranda expressed hope that the Supreme Court will issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the government from implementing the PUVMP.

“We are still hoping that the high court will issue a TRO, based on the petition we filed on Dec. 20, 2023,” he said.

Floranda stressed that transport groups are not against the modernization of traditional jeepneys.

“Our position is clear: we are not against the issue of modernization. What we are opposing is franchise consolidation. Why is there a need to revoke the issued franchise to us and order us to enter a corporation or cooperative? The government should acknowledge legitimate transport associations where various operations are part of an association,” he noted.

Based on the report he received, Floranda said among the