Public transport groups will push through with a nationwide strike on Monday to demand that the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program be postponed another three years instead of starting next year.
However, the government warned that any transport cooperatives joining strikes would have their accreditation automatically revoked.
The announcement from the Office of Transportation Cooperatives on Wednesday came after the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) announced a transport strike for Monday, Sept. 30.
The only way to stop their protest, the transport leaders said, would be to enact House Bill 4823 that offered a way of implementing the PUV Modernization Program without adversely affecting the finances of over 130,000 jeepney and bus drivers in the country.
Still, in its advisory, the OTC said the automatic revocation is applicable to transport cooperatives who join “any transport strikes or protests by any transport groups or organizations.”
The OTC also reminded the cooperatives of a memo from the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board that states “the PUV operator shall not resort to cessation of service as a sign or demonstration of protest against any government decision or action under pain of suspension or cancellation of the authority to operative granted by the (LTFRB).”
It added that PUV operators should not allow any personnel to “join other committing acts prejudicial to the riding public including but not limited to paralyzing transport services by intimidation, coercion or violence.”
On Friday, the Department of Transportation warned drivers and operators of public utility vehicles who plan to participate in Monday’s transport strike.
In a statement, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddess Hope Libiran said joining the planned transport strike is a “blatant disregard to their duty.”
“They have a responsibility to their passengers,” Libiran said.
The official reiterated Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade who said a PUV franchise is a privilege and not a right—it can be revoked if they fail to honor their responsibilities.
The LTFRB on Thursday said it has canceled 20 Certificates of Public Convenience of public utility vehicle drivers and operators who participated in a transport strike in 2017.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said joining a transport holiday is in violation of LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular No. 2011-004—which states that joining any forms of protests resulting in the inconvenience of passengers is made in contempt of the franchise awarded by the government to PUV operators.
“They disobeyed in the past; they must face the consequences now. We will not hesitate to enforce this policy because those joining transport strikes do not care about their passengers,” Delgra said.
A consumer group, meanwhile, said gasoline prices should roll back as world oil prices soften.
Laban Konsyumer Inc. president Victorio Dimagiba said the rollback should be P0.75 per liter for diesel and P1.60 per liter for gasoline, providing “relief to all consumers.”
“Average Dubai crude this week is $62.262 vs $63.06 last week over a period of Monday to Friday,” Dimagiba said.
Oil companies refused to confirm LKI’s computation, saying they have to get all the data before making an announcement. An oil executive, however, said the estimates are “close” to the anticipated price rollback.
On Sept. 24, most of the oil companies implemented a price increase of P2.35 per liter for gasoline, P1.80 per liter for diesel and P1.75 per liter for kerosene in the wake of the drone attacks on
Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. Reports that Saudi Arabia will be able to restore supply after the attack softened world oil prices.
Early this week, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the department and other government agencies to be on the guard against unscrupulous traders who will take advantage of the rising pump prices in the
aftermath of the Saudi oil fields attacks. With PNA