Government shrugs off 3-day transport strike, insists PUV Modernization to continue

Authorities shrugged off the three-day protest action of transport group Manibela amid the continuous implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, part of it is the prohibition of those who failed to meet the April 30 deadline for consolidation to ply their routes.

And zero effect of the protest action on public transport is noticeable on the second day of the protest action on Tuesday, June 11, according to Department of Transportation Undersecretary Andy Ortega.

“The group (Manibela) said that the protest action will be until June 12 but based on our assessment, it has no effect on the riding public,” said Ortega during the Bagong Pilipinas briefing.

Manibela has been conducting a series of transport strikes and protest action to oppose the PUV Modernization program. 

Despite the repeated transport strikes, the national government rejected the group’s call to stop the PUV Modernization Program and allow those who failed to consolidate to continue plying their routes. 

But for Ortega, he said almost all of those who failed to consolidate are no longer hitting the road due to strict penalties that include high fines. 

PUVs that failed to be included in the consolidation list are already considered as colorum.

Ortega said the national government remains focused on implementing the PUV Modernization program, adding that it is now actually on the second phase—route rationalization—after the April 30 deadline for consolidation.

Currently, more than 80 percent of PUVs nationwide have already consolidated and the DOTr said the figure is more than enough to prevent a transport crisis especially in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

Manibela’s first day of transport strike and protest action were marred by the incident wherein some of its members were accused of assaulting dzRH reporter Val Gonzales who was then reporting the effects of the blockade made by the protesting drivers on the traffic flow along East Avenue in Quezon City.

Some Manibela members were also accused of harassing another radio reporter.

Various media groups have already condemned the incident while the Philippine National Police (PNP) has committed to assist Gonzales in preparing criminal charges against those who attacked him.