By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A transport group in Bacolod City announced that they will join the nationwide transport strike to protest against the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
Rudy Catedral, president of the Bacolod Alliance for Commuters, Operators and Drivers Inc. (BACOD) said they will only participate in the strike for a day.
However, he has yet to say which day they will suspend their operations.
The BACOD president believes that the transport strike will not significantly affect the riding public as some drivers of modernized jeepneys and PUVs would continue operating rather than to participate in the strike.
Earlier this week, the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) announced that they will hold a transport strike from November 20 to 23.
Teofilo Guadiz III, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairperson, appealed to the group yesterday to cancel the transport strike.
Guadiz had reached out to PISTON national president Mody Floranda to come up with a compromise for the commuters’ sake.
He also warned jeepney operators to have their franchises revoked if they join the strike.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) had earlier set a deadline on December 31 of this year, for transport groups to comply with the guidelines of the PUV modernization program.
Under the program, old jeepneys will be replaced with modernized vehicles compliant with Euro 4 engines as part of efforts to reduce air pollution.
For their part, PUV drivers and operators complained about replacing their vehicles with Euro 4 compliant ones as the cost could reach at least P2 million for only one unit.
The government set a June 30 deadline for the PUV modernization program, but it was later extended following a transport strike in March of this year.
The DOTr said earlier that they will review the 2017 Omnibus Franchising Guidelines./DGB, WDJ