Bacolod transport groups to join nationwide strike on December 13

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez during a press briefing at the Mayor’s Office in Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) Monday. (Glazyl Y. Masculino Photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Some transport groups here are planning to join the nationwide transport strike set on December 13, as part of their opposition to the deadline set by the government to phase out traditional jeepneys.

But Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez said in yesterday’s press briefing that he is not sure if all transport groups here will join the strike.

Last week, Rudy Catedral, president of Bacolod Alliance for Commuters Operators and Drivers (Bacod), said that at least 800 traditional jeepney drivers will join the strike as they believed that the government is still not ready for the modernization program.

Based on Memorandum Circular (MC) 2023-17 of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), all traditional jeepneys are allowed to operate by virtue of an extended provisional authority until December 31.

Catedral said they are hoping that the national government will extend their provisional authority so they can continue their operation.

For his part, Benitez said they can sit down with them again to get their latest position. “It’s just a matter of talking to them, ironing out the differences,” he added.

“I don’t think it’s the modernization program itself ang ila gina reklamo, based on our last discussion. It’s more on the process, may guidelines and policies sila na indi nila nagustuhan,” Benitez said.

Benitez said there were some traditional jeepney drivers and operators that are okay with the program of the city. “There are just a few changes na gusto nila sa implementation sang modernization program,” he said.

Currently, more than 600 modernized jeepneys and 3,100 traditional jeepneys are operating here.

When asked if the strike could paralyze the transport sector, Benitez said that there are more jeepneys than the riders.