Transport strike has little impact on commuters : I-ACT

MANILA The transport strike of militant transport group Piston to protest the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) Monday caused minimal effect on the riding public as concerned agencies provided alternative mode of transportation to commuters, an official of the Inter-Agency on Traffic (I-ACT) said.

I-ACT spokesperson and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board member Aileen Lizada said that 28 vehicles were deployed in various parts of Metro Manila to pick up and bring commuters to their destinations.

Twenty-two government vehicles and six private vehicles were dispatched assisting approximately 1,900 passengers comprising .0475 percent of public utility jeepney ridership in Metro Manila, Lizada said in a text message to reporters.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia said the government was able to implement various contingency measures to mitigate the impact of today's transport strike on commuters such as the suspension of the number coding scheme and the suspension of classes by local government units in Metro Manila.

Ang iniiwasan lang natin dito ay yung namumuwersa sila. Peaceful naman ang situation. Merong insidente lang ng paghaharang sa Guadalupe kaninang umaga pero nai-report naman agad iyan at na-respondehan yan. (We only aim to prevent incidents of harassment of jeepney drivers that are not participating in the strike. The situation is peaceful. There is only a reported incident in Guadalupe this morning but this was immediately addressed), Garcia said in a press briefing.

Ginagawa lang namin ito because we are expecting for the worst. Ayaw naman natin na may maipit tayong mga kababayan kaya tayo naghahanda (We are just doing this because we are expecting for the worst. We just want to avoid the public from being inconvenienced that's why we are prepared), he added.

Meanwhile, Piston national president George San Mateo said they were able to create awareness on the impact of the modernization program among jeepney drivers and operators as their transport strike resulted to stranded commuters and the suspension of classes.

Our transport strike is a legitimate form of expressing our dissent to the PUV Modernization Program, San Mateo said.

The militant transport group is opposing the program which is being implemented by the Department of Transportation as this will only result in the loss of livelihood for thousands of jeepney operators and drivers.

Piston and the No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition staged their protest actions in Cubao, Monumento, Alabang, Novaliches and Anda Circle in Manila.

Under the PUVMP, transport groups and cooperatives must replace jeepney units that are 15 years old with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs.

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

Source: Philippine News Agency