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Monday, June 17, 2024

‘Coding’ still in force as 2-day strike starts

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Authorities will provide free rides to commuters affected by the nationwide transport strike that will be held today and tomorrow.

Metro Manila Council (MMC) President and San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said vehicles from various government agencies will be deployed to strike-bound areas in Metro Manila and key cities.

Transport groups Piston and MANIBELA called the strike to pressure the government to junk the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program or PUVMP.

According to Mody Floranda, president of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), both groups will hold rallies today in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Quezon City and Mendiola in Manila.

He said they are confident that the strike will paralyze public transportation in Metro Manila.

Floranda said transport groups in Bicol Region, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Bacolod and Baguio City will also join the strike.

President Marcos had earlier announced that the April 30 deadline for the franchise consolidation under the PUVMP would no longer be extended.

Mr. Marcos has assured that the program will not be a burden to the drivers and operators because of the government subsidy for modern PUVs.

As of March this year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said 80 percent of PUVs in the country have complied with the consolidation policy.

In the National Capital Region, he said the MMC has coordinated with NCRPO chief General Jose Melencio Nartatez to ensure order in the streets.

Zamora said they want to protect jeepney drivers and operators who will not join the strike from harassment.

Meanwhile, the MMDA pointed out that the number coding scheme in Metro Manila will not be suspended for the duration of the protest action spearheaded by Manibela at Piston.

This means that the number coding scheme from 7am-10am and 5pm-8pm will remain in effect. Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 are banned on the streets Monday.

“We urge all the participants to conduct their program peacefully and responsibly and abide by the guidelines provided. The NCRPO commits to safeguarding your safety as our priority,” Nartatez said in a statement.

The NCRPO will dispatch 205 cars, trucks, and buses and 6,638 police personnel during the two-day strike, he said.

“Foot, mobile, and motorcycle patrollers, drone operators, and transport escorts along with the Traffic Management Team and allied force from the Local Government Unit will assist in regulating and maintaining the smooth traffic flow along the transport strike-affected routes,” he added.

In a related development, Senator Imee Marcos called on government to “decisively implement, without further delay, concrete solutions to pending issues hounding the PUVMP.”

The senator said it must address “the inability of PUV operators and drivers to afford modern units.”

Modernizing the transport sector, Marcos said, must not come at the expense of drivers whose only means of livelihood is driving their traditional jeepneys, and the riding public—both trying to make ends meet amid rising inflation and high cost of living.

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