By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor leaders have called on the government to provide mass transportation that is reliable and efficient.
Rene Magtubo of Partido Manggagawa said it’s about time that the government faces the responsibility of providing mass transportation that is reliable and efficient saying governments, past and present, have failed to address this crisis.
“As for the working people, Metro Manila has been suffering from mass transport a decade ago. This was glaringly indicated by long queues in MRT/LRT stations, longer travel time caused by tremendous traffic and dramatic rise in the number of motorcycles as a means of transportation,” he said.
To note, thousands of commuters were affected when LRT 2 did not operate due to technical issues.
With the situation, Julius Cainglet, vice president of the Federation of Free Workers recommended a Transport Summit, that would bring together national and metro local government agencies responsible for traffic management, land transport franchising and regulatory board, transport groups, association of bus and jeepney operators, trade unions and other workers affected by traffic.
“We could discuss in the Transport Summit how the government can review its PUV (public utility vehicles) modernization plan, that applies ‘just transition’ measures such as more affordable and heavily subsidized clean energy-based new jeepneys that do not depart from its original look,” he said.
Cainglet added: The government has to admit it needs jeepneys now more than ever, even if it is bent on phasing them out without a viable alternative.
He said employers and workers can also adjust work hours without compromising fundamental workers’ rights.
“Even the middle class is hurting a lot from the mass transport crisis. During desperate times, they are forced to hail TNVS and Angkas so they won’t be late for work or important appointments outside the office. These eat up a lot from the family budget–hundreds of pesos per day they could have spent on food, saved for the electricity bill and other basic necessities,” said Cainglet.