Transport groups joining strike face sanctions

By Reinir Padua and Mike Frialde, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 19 2014 04:21 AM | Updated as of Jun 19 2014 12:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will monitor transport groups that will join the transport strike against higher penalties for colorum vehicles today, saying they could face sanctions on their franchises.

In an interview, LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez cited the 2010 bus strike that paralyzed transportation in Metro Manila. Those who participated in the strike had their franchises either suspended or cancelled.

The Stop and Go Coalition, an umbrella organization of several transport operators, said it has 14,000 members who are expected to participate in what they call “voluntary” transport protests.

Workers belonging to the Kilusang Mayo Uno and other trade unions will also join the strike, according to KMU chairman Elmer Labog.

The transport caravan will assemble at the Quezon City Memorial Circle before proceeding to the offices of the LTFRB along East Avenue and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in Pasig City.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will mobilize its traffic management and emergency response units to help ensure peace and order for the transport strike.

“We will be fielding extra number of traffic personnel along the caravan’s routes to keep vehicular traffic moving,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, who also sits as head of the Presidential Task Force on Transport Strikes and Mass Actions.

“We are ready to provide additional vehicles for libreng sakay (free ride) to serve the commuters,” he added.

Several trucks from the National Capital Region Police Office will also be used to ferry stranded passengers.

Tolentino also called on the commuting public to monitor the MMDA’s websites and Facebook and Twitter accounts for continuous traffic advisories and updates.

Tolentino reminded the transport groups that while the government “recognizes the transport groups’ right to voice their grievances, this should not affect or greatly inconvenience the rights of the greater majority to conduct their daily business as protected likewise by the general welfare clause of the Constitution.”

Under the DOTC-LTFRB joint administrative order issued earlier which will take effect today, colorum bus operators will be fined P1 million; truck and van operators, P200,000; sedan operators, P120,000; jeepney owners, P50,000; and motorcycle operators, P6,000.

It also covers other PUV-related violations such as refusal to convey passengers to their destination; overcharging; employing reckless, insolent, discourteous or arrogant drivers; operating PUVs with defective parts; using tampered taximeters and trip cutting.

The LTFRB issued an order suspending for 120 days the imposition of fines for out-of-line vehicles. Under a memorandum circular, the board will first conduct a study on the authorized route descriptions and number of authorized units in a particular route.

However, the imposition of stiffer fines on other violations will still be implemented.

Labog said the joint administrative order, which aims to ease traffic congestion, is obviously a money-making scheme.– With Mayen Jaymalin