Crackdown on jeepneys leave UP students, personnel stranded

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — Students, teachers, and personnel were stranded after transport authorities apprehended nearly a hundred jeepneys in the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman) Thursday.

The jeepneys, their route popularly called 'ikot,' are the main mode of public transport in the 493-hectare Quezon City campus.

The Inter-agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) deployed teams in the university to implement its "Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok," which is part of the government's jeepney modernization program.

According to data from I-ACT Spokesperson Aileen Lizada, 22 jeepneys were apprehended for smoke-belching, 20 for defective parts, and 53 for violation of Republic Act 4136 or the Traffic Code.

Violators were fined ₱5,000.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) deployed 10 solar-powered jeepneys to make up for the lack of in-campus vehicles. However, the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) said the units were not enough to meet commuter demand.

USC members had to organize biking and carpool services to help their colleagues get around the campus.

Other students, along with jeepney drivers who did not ply their routes, flocked to the main University Avenue to stage a protest against the sudden crackdown on UP jeepneys.

"The University Student Council continues to firmly stand against the current form of the jeepney modernization. The events today only manifest our concerns with the project, casting aside the welfare and the livelihood of current jeepney drivers without a proper means of transition or compensation," the USC said in a statement.

Meanwhile the DOTr said operations against defective and faulty jeepneys has been "long overdue".

"The surprise operations was conducted after Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade received text complaints from UP students during an interview in a radio program that there are a lot of old, dilapidated, and smoke-belching jeepneys roaming in UP," said the agency in a statement.