Home Transport group ‘Manibela’ to stage protest against PUV Modernization Program

Transport group ‘Manibela’ to stage protest against PUV Modernization Program

Manibela conducts transport strike

MANILA, Philippines – Transport group ‘Manibela’ will stage a protest caravan on Tuesday, January 16, to oppose the government’s PUV modernization program.

Mar Valbuena, the chairperson of Manibela, stated that an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 jeepney drivers and operators, along with commuters and students, are expected to participate in the protest.

Jeepneys that do not comply with the modernization scheme by February 1 will be labeled as “colorum” or unregistered, leading to the revocation of their franchises.

Valbuena mentioned that they plan to appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reconsider the upcoming revocation of franchises for non-consolidated jeepneys, aiming to enable drivers to sustain their livelihoods. Additionally, he warned about a potential shortage of jeepneys.

Jeepney drivers and operators oppose the concept of “modern jeepneys” due to their high costs. They argue that the scheme deprives individual operators of route franchises, which are instead allocated to large corporations and transport cooperatives.

“Our call is not just to extend the provisional authority but to completely stop the implementation of the PUVMP because there’s a lack of funds and the program was not studied thoroughly. [Jeepney drivers and operators] are also pressured and coerced,” Valbuena said.

“Let’s put the brakes on it,” he added.

The modernization initiative aims to replace jeepneys that are 15 years old or older with newer and environmentally friendly units, while also consolidating operators and drivers into cooperatives or corporations.

According to information from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), only 21,655 units out of the 42,177 in Metro Manila, equivalent to 51 percent, have met the consolidation deadline.

This implies that as of February 1, approximately half of the jeepneys in Metro Manila would be deemed unauthorized.

Meanwhile, the city government of Manila announced on January 14 that it plans to provide vehicles for its “Libreng Sakay” or free ride program during the nationwide transportation strike set to commence in January.

The demonstration will involve a march from Quezon City to Mendiola in Manila, with an anticipated attendance of around 15,000 participants. The city administration reassured the public of its readiness to deploy vehicles and support affected commuters. The Manila Police District (MPD) also affirmed the availability of MPD vehicles to aid stranded commuters at all times.


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