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Group vows biggest transport strike next Monday

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A transport group on Monday threatened to stage the “biggest” strike in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon on Oct. 16 to dramatize the supposed corruption in the franchise approval for public utility vehicles within the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Mar Valbuena, Manibela chairperson, said member-operators and drivers of jeepneys, UV Express and multi cab have committed to join the protest in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon and Central Luzon.

“This will be the biggest transport strike to be experienced by the government. This is not only a transport strike but is also protest action in front of the LTFRB, Department of Transportation, and Malacañang,” he said in a press briefing Monday.

STRIKE ANNOUNCEMENT. Members of the transport group Manibela protest at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City on Monday, when they announced a nationwide strike starting October 16 to call on the government to investigate the alleged corruption in the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. Manny Palmero

“We are not fighting the government. We are fighting corruption that has caused the suffering of the Filipino people. We hope that our beloved President would take action on the matter,” he added.

Manibela presented during the press briefing Jefferey Tumbado, a former executive assistant of LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III, who was suspended by the President on Monday.

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Tumbado accused the LTFRB chief of corruption over the alleged “lagay” or bribing system inside the agency.

Meanwhile, several jeepney drivers said they encountered difficulties in implementing the P1 provisional fare hike as the LTFRB has yet to issue a new fare matrix.

While the LTFRB allowed the implementation of the P1 provisional minimum fare hike, it said will only issue a new fare matrix once a decision on the P5 fare hike petition has been reached.

Transport groups advised jeepney drivers to bring a copy of the LTFRB order on the provisional fare hike.

The LTFRB also announced Monday it is planning to increase the subsidy to P250,000 for drivers and operators under the PUV modernization program.

Guadiz said the agency is asking for an additional P1.2 billion from Congress for the subsidy.

“It means if you join the modernization program, the government will give you P250,000,” he said.

Guadiz said those who already received the P180,000 subsidy for PUV modernization will be given additional funding to reach the P250,000 ceiling.

Drivers and operators earlier complained about the cost of the modernization program, which they said can hit over P2 million.

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