Transport strike to push through despite consolidation deadline extension — group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 1) —The nationwide transport strike will still push through next week, transport group Manibela said, despite the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) move to extend the franchise consolidation until the end of the year.

Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena told CNN Philippines' The Final Word that the strike will continue unless the LTFRB completely scraps the mandatory consolidation.

"Inextend lang 'yung paghihirap kasi ganun pa rin nga 'yung scheme na nakapaloob doon sa memorandum circular... 'Yung pagsali sa mga kooperatiba, yung nakapaloob po doon na monopolyo yun pa rin po," Valbuena said.

[Translation: They just extended the suffering since the scheme in the memorandum circular is the same. To join cooperatives, the monopoly, it's the same.]

Under LTFRB Circular No. 2023-013, traditional jeepney, UV Express, and transportation network vehicle service drivers and operators are required to consolidate or join existing cooperatives after March 31 to continue their operations until June 30.

The board extended the deadline - following threats of the week-long strike - to give the sector "more time to consolidate."

Asked if there is still a chance the strike would be canceled, Manibela said: "Kung sinsero na po (LTFRB), kung hindi na po kaplastikan yung ginagawa nilang pakikipagusap, baka pwede na po."

[Translation: If the LTFRB is sincere and not being a hypocrite, maybe we can cancel.]

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier urged transport groups to call off their strike, assuring them that the government will look for ways to improve the implementation of the modernization program.