Commuters will face a huge mobility problem as several transport groups announced they will be holding a nationwide, week-long strike from March 6 until March 12.
This is in defiance of the Land Transportation & Franchising Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) announcement that June 30, 2023, will be the last day for traditional jeepney operators and UV Express vans as they plan to move forward with the PUV Modernization program.
Originally, the deadline was set for March 31, 2023, but was moved to June 30 instead. In fact, this is the latest deadline adjustment as it has been deferred time and again for the past several years. However, the LTFRB is steadfast on its final deadline in order to get the PUV Modernization program moving at a faster rate.
Now, the Senate has unanimously motioned for the said phaseout of old PUJs to be moved once more. This comes after all 24 members of the Philippine Senate co-authored Senate Resolution No. 507 which urges the LTFRB to postpone the June 30, 2023 deadline. Senator Grace Poe, who filed the aforementioned resolution, said that the LTFRB must be reminded that jeepney drivers and operators do not have the means to buy the new modern PUVs.
“The LTFRB should be reminded that jeepney drivers do not have deep pockets. The most recent study estimates that their average daily take-home pay is a meager PHP755,” said Poe.
Senator Poe, who also heads the Committee on Public Services, has also asked DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista to propose a solution in order to address the upcoming transport strike slated for next week. In addition, she asked the DOTr and LTFRB to submit an update on the PUVMP – particularly with its timeline and achievable targets.
With an estimated 40,000 jeepneys set to join the strike next week, the commuting public will be in trouble starting March 6 unless the DOTr, LTFRB, the MMDA, and local LGUs come up with a solution amid the week-long strike.