'Suntok sa buwan': Traditional jeepneys not likely to return Monday, says group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2020 09:39 AM | Updated as of Jul 05 2020 09:46 AM

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MANILA - A transport group on Sunday warned of consequences as it hit government for unattainable last minute requirements for traditional jeepneys to be allowed back on the road.

The transport franchise regulator mandated jeepneys to be road worthy, equipped with a QR code, and consolidate their franchise, according to Efren de Luna, national president of Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO). The requirements were given at the last minute, he earlier said.

"Parang suntok sa buwan ulit yung sinasabi na makalalabas kami sa araw ng Monday... Parang panggigipit na magkakaroon ng consolidation o mag-surrender ng aming mga prangkisa. Ang susunod po dyan, iwa-washout ang mga prangkisa namin," de Luna told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(It seems impossible that we can return to the streets on Monday. It's like we're being harassed to surrender our franchise. What comes next is our franchises will be washed out.)

"Kaya nga, ang binabanggit natin, tayo ay nasa pandemic pa, dapat hindi muna natin pinag-uusapan pa dahil dinidinig pa sa Kongreso. Ngayon, ang dapat pag-usapan natin ay yung benefit ng mga mananakay at driver."

(That's why we're saying, we're still in a pandemic, we should not be talking about this since it's still being heard in Congress. We should talk about the benefit of passengers and drivers.)

De Luna said jeepney drivers might take their vehicles to the streets and burn them if government refuses to listen to their side.

"Yung mga sasakyan namin, nasa private lot yun. Umuupa ho kami ng P80,000 a month para di kami nakakalat sa gitna ng kalsada... Kung wala na kaming pambayad, baka mapilitan kaming ilabas lahat yan at may ilang bagay kaming pwedeng gawin, pwede kami magsunog," he said.

(Our vehicles are in a private lot where we rent P80,000 per month so they're not obstructing roads... If we can't pay that, we might be forced to take these to the streets and do some things, maybe burn them.)

"Kailangan pakinggan din naman tayo ng ating pamahalaan. Hindi kung kailan nilang gustong alisin kami. Dumaan kami sa tamang proseso."

(Government should listen to us. They cannot remove us on a whim. We underwent the right process.)

Jeepney drivers are willing to upgrade their vehicles to modernized ones and the group has its own financing, De Luna added.

"Yun nga po ang sinasabi natin sa LTFRB, magkaroon ng communication para nagkakaroon sana ng palitan ng requirements o tinatawag natin na pamamaraan kung ano ang mas maganda para sa benefits ng mananakay," he said.

(That's what we're saying to LTFRB, to have communication so we can discuss what would benefit passengers.)

"Ang nangyayari po kasi, gumagawa na lamang sila ng sarili nila, kinabukasan implementasyon na."

(What's happening is they're doing their own thing and it's implemented the next day.)

Government eased the resumption of public transportation services in phases last month after Metro Manila and other urban hubs transitioned to general community quarantine.

It initially allowed limited operations of trains, buses, taxis, ride-sharing services, and modern jeepneys. 

Traditional jeepneys are the last option in terms of public transport due to difficulties in implementing minimum health standards such as physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), government said.