‘More protests to come’ – BACOD

Transport groups in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental hold a protest in Bacolod City as part of their opposition to the deadline set by the government to phase out traditional jeepneys Friday. (Photo courtesy of Bacod)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – A transport group here is eyeing to conduct more protest actions by January next year if the government will not grant their request regarding the issue of the phase-out of traditional jeepneys.

Rudy Catedral, president of the Bacolod Alliance for Commuters Operators and Drivers (Bacod), said that they might hold transport strikes by next year if the government does not hear their sentiments.

At least 1,000 drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys here and in Negros Occidental joined the protest at the Fountain of Justice at the Old City Hall yesterday.

These drivers marched from Araneta Street to the Fountain of Justice, where they held a rally calling the government for an extension of the December 31 deadline for the consolidation of public utility vehicles (PUV) operators.

Based on Memorandum Circular (MC) 2023-17 of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-6, all traditional jeepneys are allowed to operate by virtue of an extended provisional authority until December 31.

Catedral said that their next move will depend on the action that the national transport groups will take to defend the livelihood of the traditional jeepney drivers in the country.

Catedral noted that they will not support the program of the government, which they claimed to have no budget and concrete programs.

“Indi mag-upod ang Bacod sa ila program. Mabatyagan gid sang government kag pumuluyo by January ang kakulangan sang salakyan kag modernized jeep,” he said.

(Bacod will not join the program. The government and the people will feel by January the shortage in transportation.)

Catedral said that modernized jeepneys are not sufficient to cater to the riding public here. “Kaluluoy sang commuters (The commuters will suffer),” he added.

Just recently, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that he will not extend the December 31 deadline for the consolidation of public utility vehicles (PUV) operators, following a meeting with transport officials.

Marcos, in a statement, said that 70 percent of all operators “have already committed to and consolidated” under the PUV Modernization Program, and the government cannot allow further delays in its implementation, as these affect majority of the PUV operators, banks, financial institutions and the public.