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Another transport strike looms

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TRANSPORT group Manibela revealed on Tuesday that they are in discussions with other groups for the mounting of a simultaneous nationwide transport strike before the end of the year.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Manibela chairman Mar S. Valbuena said there are ongoing talks various transport groups, including the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON), to set the days for their coordinated mass action.

Citing the separate three-day strikes waged by Manibela and PISTON last week, Mr. Valbuena said an estimated 30,000 jeepney drivers in Metro Manila halted their operations.

He said their next planned strike is expected to paralyze public transportation. “There has been a transport crisis because many are not returning to work,” he said, adding that some drivers have still refused to ply their routes for two weeks now. 

In a press briefing, Mr. Valbuena said the transport crisis may persist due to jeepney drivers and operators losing hope of retaining their franchises. He said in Filipino, “We can clearly see the frustration and sadness because we are not getting any concrete answers, only pressure and continued oppression within the transport sector.”

Both transport groups called authorities to repeal the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) which effectively phases out traditional jeepneys in favor of new generation transport vehicles by yearend. The PUVMP also requires drivers and operators to form corporations and cooperatives until Dec. 31 to get new transport franchises, which the group insisted will start the phaseout of jeepneys. — Jomel R. Paguian

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