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Jeepney drivers hold noise barrage

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• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

Traditional jeepney drivers from different transport groups held a rally protest yesterday at the Fountain of Justice in Bacolod City yesterday against the imminent PUV phaseout through the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation*

Unconsolidated traditional jeepney drivers from different transport groups in Bacolod City held a noise barrage along Araneta streets, Bacolod City yesterday during another protest-rally staged at the Fountain of Justice against their imminent phaseout through the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation.

Rudy Cathedral, president of the Bacolod Alliance for Commuters, Operators and Drivers, Inc. (BACOD), said they will be holding a meeting with traditional jeepney drivers and operators, together with the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (UNDOC), for the proposed January 3, 2024 transport strike or “untat byahe”, as well as a bigger protest that they plan to stage next month.

Cathedral said that despite the extension of the Dec. 31 deadline, no specific areas have been mentioned that will be given an extension for franchise consolidation until January 31.

The extension of the Dec. 31 deadline only shows that the President was furnished wrong data or information that about 70 percent of the traditional jeepneys in the country have had their franchise already consolidated, he said.

In Bacolod, only 30 percent have consolidated since all cooperatives are already closed, Cathedral said.

“We are calling on local our officials to help the transport sector, especially our congressmen, since the petition filed by the transport groups against the PUV Modernization Program is now in Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court,” he said.

If the consolidation will push through, more than 2,000 drivers in Bacolod will be deprived of their livelihood which will directly affect their families, he added.

The groups led by PISTON and Manibela have already filed a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order (DO) 2017-011, also known as the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG), and other relevant Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issuances which seeks to phase out traditional jeepneys.*

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