THE Malacañang said on Monday, March 6, 2023, that there was no disruption in the transportation system in Metro Manila amid the ongoing strike of several groups to protest the government’s modernization program on public utility vehicles (PUV).

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the ongoing transport holiday staged by some groups had little impact, noting that only a “handful” of routes were affected.

“As of 10 a.m., the Edsa Busway Carousel has not been impacted by any transport strike activity, with operations running smoothly with a low passenger volume observed at all stations,” PCO said.

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel have also facilitated the ferrying of affected passengers from Almar Subdivision in Caloocan going to Quezon City. Authorities are also deploying vehicles to cater to passengers on the Dapitan-Baclaran route,” it added.

The PCO said the government has enough assets that are now providing free rides as well as personnel to respond to the needs of the commuting public.

Transport groups including Piston and Manibela conducted a picket protest in various areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) as they launched their week-long transport strike, which called for the suspension of the implementation of the modernization program.

“Kailangan harapin ng ating pamahalaan lalo na ni BBM (President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.) na kung puwede niyang gawin ay maglabas siya ng executive order na i-suspende yung implementation nung [Department of Transportation Order No.] 2017-011 na ito, ‘yung omnibus franchising deadline,” Piston President Mody Floranda said in a television interview.

Under the program, old and traditional jeepneys will be replaced with high-quality and environmentally friendly vehicles with bigger capacity and that they should operate under a cooperative for the approval of their provisional authority (PA) for franchise.

The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has given individual operators of traditional jeepneys until December 1, 2023, to join a cooperative or corporation for them to be granted with PA for franchise or else they will no longer be allowed to operate.

The Malacañang said that while some oppose the modernization plan, which also aims for the security of passengers, many transport groups are in favor of it.

In Metro Manila, 11 big jeepney and UV groups have strongly opposed to the planned transport group strike, including the National Federation of Transport Cooperatives, Alliance of Transport Operators’ & Drivers’ Association of the Philippines, Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas, Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization, Pasang Masda Jeepney, Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, Stop and Go Coalition, Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative, UV Express National Alliance of the Philippines and Acto Na Corp. (SunStar Philippines)