By NITZ ARANCON
and NORA SORIÑO
GSD-Iligan Bureau .
THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) over the weekened threatened to cancel the franchises of public vehicle owners that take part in a scheduled nationwide strike today.
Alan Aminoden Guro, LTFRB director for northern Mindanao, said the Board would have no second thoughts in taking back the franchise of anyone in the region who takes part in the planned public transportation sector strike.
Today’s strike would be led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (Acto).
On Thursday, public transport groups reiterated their call for a transport strike to protest the government’s planned phaseout of jeepneys and UV express vehicles by July 2020 as part of the PUV Modernization Program.
Efren de Luna, Acto president, clarified that they are not against the modernization program but only against the immediate phaseout of non-PUVMP-compliant vehicles.
Guro said he would also not give protesting jeepney operators certificates of accreditation, a requirement for one to become a member of a public transport cooperative.
Guro however said protesting public vehicle operators would be given due process — they would be sent “show cause orders” so they could explain why it would be a mistake to cancel their franchises.
“Ang mga public transport operator dunay obligasyon sa riding public kay amo silang gihatagan sa privilege nga makapamasahero. Unya kon mo-strike sila, ilang gisupak ang among privilege nga among gihatag kanila,” he said.
In Iligan and Lanao del Norte, an organized public transport organization said it would not participate in the strike.
Raul Permites, chairman of the Coalition of Lanao Utility Transport for Change (Clutch), said it was made clear to his members by the LTFRB that should they decide to join the strike, their franchises would be terminated.
“We don’t want to be used as example,” Permites said.
The LTFRB said, so far, it has canceled 20 certificates of public convenience of public utility vehicle operators who participated in a transport strike in 2017.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said the strike would be a violation of LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular 2011-004 which states that joining any forms of protests resulting in the inconvenience of passengers is made in contempt of the franchise awarded by the government to PUV operators.
“They disobeyed in the past; they must face the consequences now. We will not hesitate to enforce this policy because those joining transport strikes do not care about their passengers,” Delgra said.
On Friday, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran said the LTFRB has revoked many PUV franchises in the past and would continue to do so without hesitation.
“Many franchises have been canceled due to violations such as taking part in transport strikes. And the LTFRB would not hesitate to do this again if necessary,” Libiran said in a media statement.
Libiran added that the offices of the LTFRB and DOTR are open to listening to the concerns of PUV drivers and operators.
“Passengers will be pitiable because of what they’re planning to do. But there are many ways to be heard without resorting to a transport holiday,” Libiran said. (with reports from PNA)