Davao mayor suspends classes, deploys buses for Monday’s strike

DAVAO CITY — Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has suspended classes in all levels in Davao City as transport groups here join the nationwide strike on Monday.

But in anticipation of lack of public utility vehicles during the strike, the city mayor ordered the deployment of buses to cater to stranded commuters, especially the workers.

While she respected the planned transport strike on Monday, Duterte-Carpio enjoined protesters to practice self-restraint in their actions as the authorities would not tolerate crimes that would be committed during the strike.

TRANSMISSION Piston will lead the transport strike in Davao to dramatize their opposition to the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

TRANSMISSION PISTON Davao sees that majority of other drivers’ and operators’ groups will join the strike.

But TRANSMISSION PISTON chair in Davao Charito Junares said Davao City’s strike would only be one day. In Metro Manila and other regions, drivers would hold a two-day transport strike.

Junares said the drivers and operators are opposing LTFRB’s Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, which pushes for the modernization of public utility vehicles as this would affect small operators and drivers.

According to Junares, majority of the drivers and operators could not afford to buy the units becasue it would require them to put out P1.2 – P1.6 million to own one unit.

He said that if the small jeepneys or the so-called multi-cabs would be deployed to the routes of the tricycles it could trigger trouble among the drivers.

The government, however, envisions the PUV modernization program to meet safety, energy efficiency, and emission standards in order to enhance commuter convenience.

Under the modernization program, jeepney units that are 15 years old will be replaced with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs.

Units will also be equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.

Meanwhile, Duterte-Carpio said this would also be an opportunity for the city government to assess the viability of the bus system with fewer public utility vehicles plying the city streets.

“Let us all take this opportunity to observe the streets with fewer jeepneys and more buses as envisioned in the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) project for Dabawenyos.”

The mayor is referring to her project of shifting to a mass transport system under the Comprehensive Transport and Traffic Management Plan for the city.

The city government is working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which is assisting on the HPBS project. This is a shift from the outdated and expensive public utility jeepneys to a more convenient, cleaner, and faster mode of transportation.

The mayor already announced this plan during her State of the City Address in August. Under this project, the mayor does not want jeepney drivers to be poor and sickly, but rather as entrepreneurs and investors in the HPBS project.

The existing jeepney units may stay, but will be assigned to feeder routes and not on the main roads where the buses ply.

“In this way, they become our partners to a modernized transport system for the city,” she said. Lilian Mellejor/PNA – northboundasia.com