Marcos assures secure jobs as PUV drivers end protest


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday assured that no jeepney driver would lose his job due to the implementation of the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program with the introduction of electric vehicles on the streets.

The President made the assurance following a meeting with transport groups late Tuesday.

Marcos said the government is now looking at ways of ensuring that no PUV worker will be rendered jobless once the modernization program is fully implemented.

The government has also been thoroughly studying and tweaking the systems in inspecting and PUVs during the extension period of consolidation of transport groups under the PUVMP until December 30 of this year, the President said.

“The problem they raised is that they…fear that they won’t be able to secure a loan to buy new vehicles so we’re looking to ensure that no one loses their jobs if ever they fail to buy an electric vehicle,” the President said.

According to Marcos, is implementing the modernization program to ensure that the vehicles are safe for the passengers.

Following a meeting with Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide   (PISTON) President Mody Floranda and Manibela leader Mar Valbuena with Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil late Tuesday, jeepney drivers and operators ended their planned week-long transport strike against the phase out of traditional PUVs.

Meanwhile, President Marcos thanked members of Manibela and PISTON for heeding the call of the government to sit down and discuss their concerns regarding the implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“Our discussion was good and we gave ourselves a little time until December 30—we postponed [the program] until December. I think that is enough time for us to do everything that needs to be done to fix the system of inspection and replacement of our jeepneys, our transport workers,” Marcos said.

“I thank them because they made their point very clearly that we have to look and study this thoroughly,” the President added.

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has welcomed the decision of transport groups to end their planned one week strike, two days after it started last Monday, March 6.

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo E. Guadiz III welcomed the decision of the transport groups Free Alliance of Bus Employees and Laborers for Labor Rights and PISTON to end their tigil pasada for the sake of commuters who have been affected.

“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 and the modernization of the public transportation industry. We are glad they listened to our President,” said Guadiz.

Vital role

The Inter-Agency task force formed by the Marcos administration to address the transport group strike of Manibela and PISTON has been instrumental in averting the further escalation of the disturbance in Metro Manila as well as in the other national urban centers, said the Presidential Communications Office.

Upon the directive of the President, members of the Inter-Agency Task group had coordinated and collaborated to find ways to ensure that the effects of the March 6 transport strike would be contained.

The task force, which included the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), Department of Transportation (DOTr), LTFRB, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), among others, had put in place several contingency measures to soften the impact of the transport group strike in Metro Manila and other nearby areas.

The contingency measure included the deployment of augmentation vehicles to transport stranded passengers during the first day of the planned weeklong transport disturbance.

Police and traffic personnel were also assigned on the routes that had been identified as hot spots and ensured the peace and order and smooth flow of vehicular traffic in these areas.

Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila