Drivers and operators rally on LTFRB's first day of "crackdown"

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Hundreds of drivers and jeepney operators protested today before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) national office in Quezon City to condemn its “crackdown” or apprehension of those who refused the forced consolidation of franchises. The agency today began imposing sanctions related to its implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and the Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagka-Isang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela) demand that the LTFRB allow drivers and operators to unionize even if they are not consolidated because this is their basic right. They call for the return of the 5-year individual franchise and the scrapping of the anti-poor PUVMP.

The drivers and operators also affirmed in the program their unity that those who did not consolidate the franchise will continue to operate. They said they still have their franchises, and LTFRB does not have the authority to revoke them.

The LTFRB threatened to consider the operation of non-consolidated jeepneys illegal and unregistered. Anyone apprehended will face a one-year suspension, a ₱50,000 fine and face a 30-day jail term.

Drivers and operators considered the LTFRB’s April 30 deadline for forced consolidation a massacre of their livelihoods. The agency hyocritically granted a 15-day additional grace period (May 1 to May 15) before pulling over jeepneys without a consolidated franchise. In fact, government agencies have already been apprehending unconsolidated jeepneys since the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, the Tanggol Pasada Network today formed the Tanggol Pasada Patroller campaign that will monitor the apprehension and arrest of unconsolidated drivers and operators who continue to ply their routes. The campaign aims to expose the theft of the transport jobs which is repressive and anti-poor.

Piston and Manibela also protested in the Supreme Court on May 14 to push the court to issue a response to their petition to stop the forced consolidation of franchises and the implementation of the PUVMP.

AB: Drivers and operators rally on LTFRB's first day of "crackdown"