Transport group divided on modernized jeepney ordinance

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By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Transport groups here are still divided on the implementation of the modernized jeepney ordinance as three groups signified their intention not to join the May 8 transport strike here.

The City Council approved in October 2021 City Ordinance (CO) No. 966 or the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) authored by former councilor Dindo Ramos.

Section 6 of the LPTRP states that all franchises issued under the LPTRP shall be issued only to qualified operators in accordance with existing rules and regulations under a fully transparent, competitive, and equitable selection process, where the primary consideration shall be the interest of the travelling public.

Albert Villanueva, chairman of the Sentrong Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators (SSTONE), said their group and the Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Association (FEBACDA) have no plans to join the transport strike to protest the ordinance.

Villanueva acknowledged that UNDOC secretary general Diego Malacad informed him of their plan.

Earlier, the Bacolod Alliance of Commuters, Operators and Drivers, United Negros Drivers and Operators Center, and the Negros Bacolod Transport Coalition declared that they will stage a transport strike on Monday, May 8, 2023.

The three transport groups will hold a rally in front of the Bacolod City Government Center to call for the LPTRP, which they blame for the non-renewal of their provisional authority by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Bacolod City is the second highly-urbanized city in the Philippines to have its new local route plan approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

They will gather at the Bacolod City Government Center to air their grievances to Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez regarding the LPTRP.

Noli Rosales, secretary-general of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and member of the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (Undoc), said the “No to jeepney phaseout movement,” composed of Bacolod Alliance Commuter Operator Driver (Bacod), Undoc-Piston, and Negros Bacolod Transport Coalition (NBTC), planned the strike on Monday.

Rosales said at least 200 public utility jeepneys (PUJ) and tricycle drivers plying Mansilingan, Shopping, and among other routes are expected to join the strike at 6 a.m. The drivers will bring their units to the BCGC.

“We will not stop or block the PUJ, but we will only assemble at the BCGC’s ground to show to our mayor that we are affected by CO 966, which was approved by the previous administration,” he said.

The ordinance further states that all operators granted a franchise under the LPTRP must comply with all transportation and traffic rules, regulations, and applicable ordinances enacted by the local government of Bacolod City.

Rosales further said they will ask the mayor if they also reviewed the implementation of the ordinance because it did not make a difference to the situation of the PUJ drivers and operators in the city.

“Because of this ordinance, most of us failed to secure a provisionary authority based on Memorandum Circular 23-17 because we still need an endorsement from the city so we will be given a franchise or provisionary authority by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LFTRB),” he added.

Rosales also said that based on CO 966, the city has a total of 23 routes, which were approved by the LFTRB for the modernized jeepney, but it was not specified if it was also applicable to the traditional jeepney.

He added that aside from the PUJ, he said the tricycle drivers were also affected by the said ordinance because of the operation of the modernized jeepney.

“The administration of Benitez wants change, so they should prove it to the people of Bacolod. They should also consider the situation of the small operators and tricycle drivers as well as the pedicab drivers,” he added.