MANILA - Jeepney drivers and operators are set to stage a 2-day transport strike in Metro Manila and nearby regions on Monday and Tuesday to protest the government's public utility vehicle modernization program.
Speaking to DZMM, Jun Magno, head of the transport group Stop and Go Coalition, said the modernization program aims to phase out jeepneys and replace them with modern but expensive units that drivers and operators can't afford.
"Hindi nila kayang pasanin ang P1.6 million," said Magno, referring to the price of the modern jeepney units that will replace the existing ones. "Pauutangin kami ng P1.6 million. Tulong po ba ang utang? Magkano lang boundary ng driver e.
Magno said jeepney drivers and operators have conducted several protests this year but it seems like the authorities are not listening to their plight, which is why they are doing a 2-day transport strike instead of just one.
Meanwhile, Atty. Aileen Lizada, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member, assured the jeepney drivers and operators that there will be a budget for their financial assistance.
"Government has included in its budget P80,000... Bibigyan -- libre, subsidy -- ang lahat ng gustong mag-modernize ng jeepney. Hindi 'yan utang," she said, adding that she hopes transport groups will be open for discussions again.
"Twenty years in the making itong modernization program. It takes political will. Gawin natin ito para sa mga mananakay," she added.
Atty. Lizada also warned drivers who will participate in the 2-day transport strike , saying they may face suspension, based on a memorandum circular issued in 2011. She said enforcers will be taking note of the plate numbers of those who ill join the protest.
"Bawal i-cover ang plate numbers ninyo," she reminded transport workers joining the strike.