by Chito Chavez
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will implement the government’s jeepney modernization plan despite the massive protests by members of the transport group.
LTFRB chief Martin Delgra accused the public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators of pushing only for their interest insisting that the government’s priority is the safety and welfare of the riding public.
With the public interest as its priority, Delgra said the government, the LTFRB in particular, will persist in engaging the jeepney operators to constant interaction to enable them to understand the benefits of the phase-out program.
Thousands of transport group members mounted yesterday a protest caravan against the proposed jeepney phaseout as the government plans to institute its jeepney modernization program.
Members of the No-to-Jeepney Phaseout Coalition gathered early on Elliptical Road in Quezon City as they rejected the program citing that thousands of jeepney drivers and operators would be unemployed once the plan is enforced.
Among those who joined the coalition were members of the Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON).
No to “Jeepney Phaseout Coalition’’ convenor George San Mateo stressed that the plan would definitely put the financial burden to the lowly drivers insisting that they don’t have the resources to comply with the program which he viewed as the handing over the transport services sector to big companies.
Roughly about 600,000 drivers and 300,000 jeepney operators would lose their jobs as a result of the modernization plan, they said.
Under the plan, old jeepneys and other public utility vehicles would be phased out.
Earlier, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said many of the jeepneys are no longer road-worthy and environment-friendly.
The modernization plan would set routes and a travel time per route and drivers would undergo training to meet these.
Drivers urged President Duterte to just rehabilitate their jeepneys instead of being phased out.
Monday’s transport caravan has prompted the suspension of classes in Malolos and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan while it caused inconvenience to the commuters in many areas.
The transport groups vowed to conduct a more massive rally when the president delivers his state of the nation address (SONA) on July 24 if their call remains unheeded.