Public transport groups won’t call off the nationwide transportation strike set on Monday come hell or high water.
Headed by Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations national president Efren de Luna, leaders of various public transport organizations aired this vow yesterday as they demanded the postponement of the implementation of the PUV Modernization Program to another three years starting next year’s ultimatum set by government.
However, the transport leaders said another alternative that would stop the protest is the enactment of House Bill 4823 that offered a way of implementing the PUVMP without adversely affecting the finances of over 130,000 jeepney and bus drivers.
Authored by DIWA party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay, HB 4823 proposes a “middle ground” on the replacement of existing PUV units with vehicles that are more environment-friendly.
Aglipay, vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, said HB 4823 also proposes to augment the financial capacity of PUJ drivers and operators to be able to comply with the PUVMP.
A government subsidy of P100,000, a buy-out arrangement option of P400,000 for old units, and a five percent interest rate on a ten-year amortization scheme are also among the provisions of HB 4823.
“I hope President Rodrigo Duterte will certify this measure urgent, considering that fact that transportation industry plays a vital role in nation-building,” said Aglipay.
Transport leaders said the Aglipay proposal could be the solution to the problem being faced by drivers and operators over the modernization program.
A transport leader said nothing will stop them from holding the transport strike.
“Tuloy na po ito, wala na pong atrasan, bumagyo, lumindol, or ano pa man,” declared Dindo Robles of Alyansa Kontra PUV Phaseout.
Officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board have appealed to the public transport leaders to call off the transport strike.
De Luna and other public transport leaders countered that they are not against government’s bid to modernize the transport industry.
De Luna said their opposition to the PUVMP is directed at the huge cost it will entail for each driver to comply with. (Ben Rosario)