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Transport strike in the offing

JEEPNEY operators and drivers are poised to go on strike in Metro Manila and nearby regions on Monday and Tuesday to protest a government program that would phase out jeepneys.

In an interview on radio dzMM, Jun Magno, head of the transport group Stop and Go Coalition, said the modernization program seeks to replace jeepneys with modern vehicles that drivers and operators can’t afford.

“They can’t afford the P1.6 million,” Magno said in Filipino, referring to the price of the modern jeepney replacement. “They said they will lend us P1.6 million. Is debt a form of help? 

Magno added that the government has not been listening to their complaints.

Aileen Lizada of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said jeepney drivers and operators will get financial assistance.

“Government has included in its budget P80,000... which will be given free, as a subsidy, to all who want to buy the  modern jeepney. That’s not a loan,” she said in Filipino.

She added that the modernization program was “20 years in the making” and would take political will to push it forward.

At the same time, Lizada warned that drivers who join the two-day transport strike face suspension. Enforcers will be taking note of the plate numbers of those who join the protest, she said, adding that it is illegal to cover their license plates.

Transport leader Jorge San Mateo, meanwhile, accused the LTFRB of harassment for filing a complaint against him before the Quezon City prosecutor’s office.

In an interview with radio dzBB, San Mateo said that the complaint against him, supposedly stemming from a transport strike Piston staged last February, is intended to sow fear among jeepney drivers and operators.

He said the move was harassment aimed at scaring off drivers and small operators.

Topics: Transport strike , Jun Magno , Aileen Lizada , Jeepneys
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