WV transport coops shun strike starting October 16

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Two of the major transport cooperatives in the region said they will not be joining the nationwide transport strike starting October 16.

Western Visayas Transport Cooperative (WVTC) and Western Visayas Alliance of Transport Cooperatives and Corporations, Inc. (WVATCCI) made it clear that they will not participate in the Manibela-led transport strike.

“Indi kami magupod sa ila pagahiwaton nga transport strike kay registered kami sa CDA (Cooperative Development Authority) kag registered kami sa OTC (Office of Transportation Cooperatives),” said Raymundo “Boyet” Parcon, chairperson of the WVTC.

Parcon emphasized that they are under a consolidated franchise and their registration with the CDA and OTC prohibits them from joining rallies and transport strikes.

Meanwhile, the WVATCCI in an interview with Aksyon Radyo Iloilo also assured the public that they would not join the strike.

“Wala sing matabo [nga transport strike sa siyudad sang Iloilo]. We assure the public, we assure our government, provincial and local, nga ang WVATCCI indi ni matandog,” said WVATCCI president Rizalito Alido.

He stressed that joining the strike will paralyze public transport operations in the metro and has the potential to cripple the economy.

“Kami [WVATCCI] nagakabalaka sa aton commuters, sa aton ekonomiya nga ma-apektuhan,” he said.

He also claimed that Manibela is not pro-government and has a different agenda for the transport community.

Manibela will mount a transport strike following the allegations of corruption within the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The WVTC president believes that there was corruption in the LTFRB particularly in the distribution of fuel subsidies since some of the drivers of modern jeepneys under their cooperative had not received the cash assistance.

“Kadamo pa sang miyembro natun diri nga wala pa makabaton, even sa mga probinsya natun. May mga gapinamangkot sa atun ngaa wala pa sila yah nakatilaw sining fuel subsidy,” Parcon said.

Alido, on the other hand, believes that there is a strong basis for the alleged corruption that led to the eventual suspension of Teofilo Guadiz from his post as chairman of the LTFRB on Monday.

He said that corruption had been rampant in the LTFRB, even in its regional offices. If proven to have engaged in corrupt practices, Alido believes that a mere suspension from his post is not enough.

The LTFRB chief’s suspension came after his former senior executive assistant Jeffrey Tumbado expressed plans to file a graft complaint against several LTFRb officials, with the transport group as co-complainant.

Alido further argued that in the face of such allegations, a transport strike may not be the appropriate response. Instead, he suggested that transport groups should file a petition directly with the president’s office to ensure proper due process.

It can be recalled on July 24 to 26, 2023, the “No To PUV Phaseout Coalition,” joined by traditional jeepney drivers and operators in Panay Island joined the three-day strike to oppose the administration’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) modernization program and Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP).

According to the coalition, around 80% of jeepney drivers and operators in Iloilo participated on the first day of the strike.

The strike took place in various locations, including Oton, Tagbak Terminal, Ungka Terminal, and in front of the University of the Philippines-Visayas.