Poe lauds strike cancellation; LTFRB to monitor jeepney drivers

MANILA -- Senator Grace Poe hailed the move of transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) to call off its nationwide transport strike slated December 4-5.

We welcome the decision of PISTON and the No to Jeepney Coalition to heed our appeal and call off the transport strike, the senator said in a statement.

Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, invited major transport groups to attend an "urgent" Senate inquiry that will tackle issues confronting the public transportation sector.

Poe stressed that commuters who heavily rely on public transportation should not be burdened, when issues can be better discussed and resolved when sobriety and judiciousness are exercised, in pursuit of the highest public good.

Poe said that among the main issues to be discussed in the Senate hearing is the proposed jeepney modernization program.

Isasaalang-alang natin ang kapakanan ng bawat isa -- jeepney driver, operator, mananakay at karaniwang mamamayan tungo sa paghanap ng solusyon (We must consider the welfare of everyone -- jeepney driver, operator, commuters, and the public -- as we seek for solution), Poe said.

For its part, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will continue to monitor terminals and routes to be traversed by jeepney drivers and operators affiliated to PISTON.

We have directed the head of our Enforcement Division to deploy its enforcers to check the terminals of PISTON as well as the routes that will be affected. We will decide by tomorrow noontime if we will proceed with the monitoring for the whole day, LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada said in a text message to reporters.

We cannot afford surprises for the riding public, she stressed.

Last week, transport groups Piston and No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition said they would stage another protest action against the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Under the PUVMP, jeepney units that are 15 years old or older will be replaced with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs.

These will also be equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System, speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.

Source: Philippine News Agency