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Dialogue, discussions more appropriate to tackle modernization program issues

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By Chito Chavez

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that dialogues and discussions are more appropriate to tackle issues involving the Public Utility Vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) instead of transport strikes saying that the latter only sows chaos and public inconvenience.

LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)

LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra issued the declaration in the heels of the recent two-day jeepney nationwide transport strike perpetuated by the PUVMP opposing Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) that led to the suspension of classes and work in the country.

Piston head George San Mateo claimed that the program is a gradual move that would eventually result to a jeepney phase-out plan forcing the drivers and operators to buy new and more expensive models.

Atty. Aileen Lizada LTFRB board member and spokesperson insisted that there is absolutely no LTFRB memorandum that calls for the phase-out of jeepneys.

The LTFRB said it has conducted dialogues on the modernization program with stakeholders that included public transport groups like Pasang Masda, FEJODAP and even Piston.

The LTFRB is open to more consultations if that is what transport groups need Delgra noted. “Kung sinasabi nila na kulang pa, we have been very open about it,” he said.

San Mateo, however, clarified that they don’t oppose the modernization program insisting that they are only against the move to leave the drivers and operators submerged further in poverty.

“Ang tinututulan naming ay ang pagmasaker sa aming kabuhayan at pagpapahirap sa mananakay at sambayanan alang-alang para gawing gatasan ng iilang mayayaman at makapangyarihan at ng mga tiwaling opisyal ng pamahalaan,” San Mateo said.

Meanwhile, Delgra said President Duterte’s ultimatum for jeepney drivers and operators to upgrade their vehicles within the year was merely an “expression of urgency” in the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

“He has spoken firmly strongly in favor of the modernization that said I will have to understand him. The expression of the date is an expression of an urgency to push this as firmly as we can,” Delgra said.

On Tuesday, Duterte expressed anew his administration’s support to the PUV modernization program as he lashed out at protesting jeepney drivers and operators.

On Monday, Malacañang reiterated its full support to the PUV modernization program insisting that only Piston opposed the program.

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