MANILA — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has set a dialogue with transport group PISTON on Monday afternoon, its chair said, adding he is optimistic the transport strike against a feared phaseout of traditional jeepneys will not extend to Tuesday.
In an interview on ANC's "Headstart", LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said that he has been in touch with PISTON president Mody Floranda.
"This afternoon, we will be having a dialogue with PISTON. I will inite them to revisit the program and look into ways we can further help them in the transition from the traditional jeepney to the modernized jeepney," he said,.
He added that the replacement of the traditional jeepneys "is a long, long way off" and is about two to three years away.
Guadiz said that government has prepared 250 vehicles to help commuters who may be stranded by the strike but also said that LTFRB has not monitored a "shortage" of jeepneys and buses along transport routes.
He said that he is optimistic that the strike will end on Monday and said that "in the end, it will be (the jeepney drivers) who will be affected" by the loss of their income if they continue to strike.
Drivers and operators are opposed to the government program to replace the jeepneys with new vehicles that cost up to P2.5 million and the requirement for them to form corporations and cooperatives to get new transport franchises.
"Ang franchise consolidation ay phaseout," PISTON said Monday morning, adding the strike would continue.
"Ang franchise consolidation ay pagbawi at pag-masaker sa mga indibidwal ng prangkisa at pagpasa nito sa mga malalaking transport corporation na sila lang ang may kapasidad na magbayad at sumunod sa mga pakana ng gobyerno."
(Franchise consolidation is the revocation and the massacre of individual franchises and giving them to large transport corporations that are the only ones that can pay and follow these government schemes.)
Guadiz said the franchise consolidation is a prelude to fleet modernization that will see the eventual replacement of jeepneys but will also modernize the transport system.
He said this would remove the boundary system — where drivers earn only after they reach a fixed "boundary" amount that that goes to the jeepney operator — in favor of fixed salaries for drivers.
"When they form a cooperative, it will be the cooperative that will give them a salary... a fixed salary," Guadiz said, adding this would come with government social benefits and subsidies.
"Ginagawang malaking negosyo ang simpleng kabuhayan ng ordinaryong Pilipino," PISTON said of the scheme.
(They are turning a simple livelihood into big business.)