At least 200,000 public utility vehicles will join the three-day transport strike starting July 24, the day of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address, a transport group said Friday.
Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena said the strike will be held in nine regions across the country, including Metro Manila.
“This is nationwide. Not lower than 200,000 public utility vehicles are joining the strike and our numbers may grow, as we expect up to 300,000,” he told ANC’s “Headstart”.
Manibela said it is protesting the lack of urgency from the government to address their concerns in the PUV modernization program.
Valbuena said the government ignored their group after several attempts of requesting to discuss the controversial Omnibus Franchising guidelines.
He alleged that the Department of Transportation is prioritizing large companies and local government units to rationalize routes.
The group also warned that monopoly of routes could lead to tripling of minimum fare as the competition is eliminated.
Transport groups planned a week-long strike earlier this year but it was cut short after a meeting with government officials.
On Thursday, the DOTr refuted Manibela’s claims that the agency failed to address the various concerns of PUV drivers and operators.
“DOTr, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) have been in the past many weeks engaged in consultations with our PUV drivers and operators regarding their concerns such as the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP),” the agency said.
According to the DOTr, the LTFRB has always been fair in implementing its mandate based on the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) either to corporations or cooperatives.
The bureau also appealed to Manibela to cancel its planned three-day transport strike to coincide with Mr. Marcos’ SONA on July 24, a Monday.