Malacañang said it will not ask major transport groups to cancel their planned nationwide transport strike today but insisted that the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) is “long overdue”.
Presidential Spokesperson, Salvador Panelo said despite the protest, the administration will push through with the planned PUVMP as it would serve public interest.
“The modernization of the public transport system is long overdue and the Duterte administration will not be intimated nor cowed by threats of protests and strikes coming from those who only think of their own parochial interest,” Panelo said in a statement on Sunday.
“This Administration is committed to serve the paramount interest of the citizens for convenient and accessible public transportation,” he added.
Panelo, however, appealed to transport groups to ensure that protests are peaceful.
“While we will not dissuade the drivers and operators of public utility vehicles to join the proposed nationwide protest tomorrow, September 30, we caution them, however, to assemble peacefully and not perform acts of violence that will endanger the safety of the general public,” Panelo said.
“The government will enforce pertinent laws, rules and regulations, including the cancellation of their privileges, such as franchises or certificates of public convenience,” he added.
He asked concerned agencies to prepare to activate the Joint Quick Response Team (JQRT) on Transportation to assist commuters who will be stranded and affected by the demonstration.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), earlier, warned PUV drivers and operators not to join the transport strike or face revocation of their franchises.
Major transport groups are holding a protest against the government’s PUVMP, which allows for the phaseout of jeepneys and UV Express services next year, saying that the standards set by the government have made it difficult for them to comply.
The government’s PUVMP requires operators to replace their jeepneys with vehicles fitted with Euro-4 compliant engines as part of efforts to make an environment-friendly transport system in the country.
Local government units (LGUs) and schools were forced to suspend classes and work due to the transport strike. (PNA)