Piston failed to paralyze transport system – MMDA
BY ALEXANDRA J. FURIO
The Manila Times
Commuters jostle for a ride in Pasig City as passenger jeepneys became scarce due to the transport strike that started on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. The transport group Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide planned a three-day strike to protest the deadline to consolidate drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys into either a corporation or a cooperative under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. TRANSPORT group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) on Monday failed to paralyze the National Capital Region’s transportation system, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said. “We can categorically say that public transportation was not paralyzed, based on our records,” MMDA Acting Chairman Romando “Don” Artes said. “We think that it might be just [a] normal Monday morning rush hour for traffic.” Artes and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) spokesman Celine Pialago in separate statements said that the government had readied 686 service vehicles. As of 3:30 p.m., the MMDA dispatched 79 vehicles, which served 1,980 commuters. The MMDA head and other concerned agencies will continue to monitor the situation until the third day of the transport holiday. “We are ready for the three-day strike, and we will respond depending on the situation,” he said. LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz 3rd personally monitored the transport situation on Monday and checked the Commonwealth Avenue near the University of the PhilippinesDiliman and Philcoa areas. In a chance interview with the media, Guadiz warned that the LTFRB will take action against protesting drivers if they would cause harm by throwing rocks, placing spikes on the road and forcing other drivers to join. “Those who throw rocks and those who place spikes will be arrested. Public vehicles blocking the road will also be apprehended, and we have waiting LTO (Land Transportation Office) or LTFRB personnel who will document their license plates. This time, I will suspend their permits, cancel franchises,” Guadiz said. Pialago said that among the affected areas in the National Capital Region are Novaliches-Malinta (along Gen. Luis), Shelter Ville-Novaliches, Bagumbong-Novaliches, Deparo-Novaliches, Paco-Sta. Mesa, Monumento area, Catmon, Alabang area, Baclaran, A.Francisco StreetSan Andres Bukid and NIA-NPC to Mindanao Avenue. Appeal rejected Piston earlier said that the strike is set for November 20 to 22 after the government rejected its request to remove the December 31 deadline to consolidate franchises — the first component of the modernization plan that would eventually phase out traditional jeepneys. Mody Floranda, national president of Piston, said their appeals to suspend the entire program were not met following the recent proposed amendments to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines. Further, Piston said that the franchise consolidation deadline is a “scheme” that may result in monopoly of big fleet managers or corporations who have the capacity to capitalize and sell modernized vehicles. Floranda appeared before Guadiz for a dialogue on Monday. He raised his concerns regarding the consolidation of public utility vehicles franchises as part of the jeepney modernization process. “I respect their continuous strike, but perhaps, for the sake of the Filipino people, they could reconsider and make some compromises,” Guadiz said. Floranda said that Piston will have consultations with their local subunits before deciding.