March 9, 2023
MANILA — Transport groups that set a week-long strike are ending their protest midway as they resumed operations on Wednesday following a meeting in Malacañang.
Around 40,000 PUVs were initially expected to join the transport strike from March 6-12.
“Upang masimulan ang diskurso nagdesisyon ang aming grupo na ihinto ang transport strike kasama ang Piston at magbalik pasada,” said Mar Valbuena, chair of Manibela, a coalition of public utility vehicle (PIV) drivers and operators’ groups that include Piston.
(In order to start the discourse, our group decided to stop the transport strike with Piston and go back.)
Valbuena and Piston president Mody Florada had a dialogue with Malacañang officials on Tuesday night.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) welcomed this development.
“We have never wavered in asking our friends from Manibela and Piston to sit down with us to thresh out their concerns about the PUVMP (public utility vehicles modernization program) and the modernization of the public transportation industry. We are glad they listened to our President,” said LTFRB Chairman Teofilo E. Guadiz III.
He added that the transport groups’ decision to resume operations will help both sides in developing an effective solution and a public transportation modernization program that is “responsive and inclusive not only of their needs but also that of the commuting public.”
Valbuena explained that they support the government’s objective to provide comfortable and safe public transportation to Filipino commuters, but they only want the program to be inclusive and reasonable.
“Hindi namin hinahadlangan ang planong modernisasyon na mga pampublikong sasakyan. Sana lang gawin ito sa pamamaraan na walang mapag iwanan, makatao, at makatwiran,” he said.
(We are not blocking the planned modernization of public transport. We just hope it’s done in a way that leaves no one behind, humane, and fair.)
Valbuena then revealed that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he would review the jeepney modernization program and its implementation.
He also said that Marcos assured transport groups of the government’s coordination so that the planned modernization scheme would not leave them behind.