PUVMP deadline triggers 2-day transport strike, Letran shifts to online classes

By: Sophia Pacheco, Aianna Xyril Monsod
April 14, 2024

Transport groups launch a 2-day transport strike in protest against the looming PUVMP deadline as Letran shifts to online modality. Photo courtesy of Augusto Urbano II of The LANCE.

Transport groups MANIBELA and Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) announced last Thursday a two-day transport strike will occur from Monday to Tuesday, April 15-16. 

Manibela president Mar Valbuena said at a press briefing that 30,000 jeepney drivers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and at least 100,000 more nationwide are expected to join the strikes in protest of the nearing deadline on April 30 for the consolidation of franchises under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

After several extensions and recommendations from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said there would be no more extension of this date.

PISTON declared that they will not comply with the most recent deadline imposed by the Marcos administration, claiming they have been fighting the controversial PUVMP that began in 2017. 

The transport group stated the deadline ought to be suspended while the Supreme Court considers a petition challenging the PUVMP.

“Hindi pa natatapos ang mga serye ng hearing ng PUVMP sa Kamara at nakabinbin pa rin ang petisyon namin sa Korte Suprema laban dito pero minamadali na ng rehimen ang pang-aagaw ng hanapbuhay ng mga tsuper at maliliit na operator,” PISTON deputy secretary general Ruben Baylon said.

According to Valbuena, the original plan was for a two-day strike, but may carry on for as long as possible after the deadline if the government fails to take action with their requests.

The “Libreng Sakay” program of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will also be reinstated to provide free rides for affected commuters.

“The LTFRB will adhere to its standard operating procedure by coordinating with relevant government agencies and LGUs should a transport strike push through,” the agency said in a statement.

Students of the Colegio who utilize public utility vehicles (PUV) have expressed their concerns on the impact of the PUVMP and series of strikes have affected their daily transit.

In an interview with The LANCE, Marcus Valeriano of the College of Engineering and Information Technology (CEIT) said the situation is concerning as jeepneys serve as his primary source of transportation to and from school.

He also shared his perspective on the two sides of the issue stating a positive and negative input.

“On the positive side, the consolidation and franchise of traditional jeepneys and their near approach to modernization can lead to a better outcome for the environment by reducing contaminants. This is because traditional jeepneys often lack the modern technology needed to limit emissions. However, on the negative side, as a student, I am concerned about the potential increase in fares. Students typically work with a limited budget for their allowances, so any rise in jeepney fares could pose a significant financial challenge,” Valeriano said

Other respondents from College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), College of Education (COED), and College of Business Administration and Accounting (CBAA) shared the same sentiment with Valeriano, emphasizing the difficulty in finding other routes or mode of transportation for their commute.

A political science student from CLAS mentioned that due to transport strikes, they have been forced to use ride-hailing apps, such as Move It and JoyRide as alternative means to travel. These services have a starting fare system of P50 for the first two kilometers, and P10 for every succeeding kilometer up to seven kilometers.

The political science student added insight to their disagreement due to the disadvantage of the franchise consolidation, stating a lot of time and days are being wasted due to the constant pressure to implement this franchise.

In response to the anticipated transport strike on April 15-16 (Monday and Tuesday) and the high heat index, some schools and universities in Metro Manila, including Letran-Manila, have announced online (synchronous) classes and work from home setup on the said dates.