Marcos urges PUV drivers to cancel strike, pushes for improved modernization program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 1) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on transport groups to reconsider their planned week-long strike as he assured them that the government would look for ways to improve the implementation of the public utility vehicles (PUV) modernization program.

In a chance interview on Wednesday, the President urged drivers to cancel their strike, saying this would greatly affect Filipino commuters.

Manibela Chairperson Mar Valbuena on Monday said about 100,000 drivers and operations across the country were expected to join the strike if authorities do not withdraw Memorandum Circular No. 2023-013 that orders the mandatory consolidation of jeepney franchises by June 30.

READ: Jeepneys, UV express groups warn of nationwide strike vs. franchise consolidation

While Marcos also expressed support for the modernization program, he stressed the need to “implement it in a different way.”

To ensure passengers’ safety, the President said transportation authorities may instead inspect existing public vehicles that are still in good condition.

“Just because five years old, or 10 years old, hindi na pwede. Tingnan natin yung condition,” he said.

[Translation: Just because five years old, or 10 years old, they can’t be used anymore. Let's see the condition first.]

“Siguro kaya nating kausapin ang mga transport groups at sabihin natin, 'Hindi, babaguhin talaga namin para hindi masyadong mabigat sa bulsa ng bawat isa,'" he said.

[Translation: Maybe we can talk to the transport groups and say, "We're going to change it so it's not too heavy on everyone's pockets.”]

Pursuing the modernization program also includes boosting the penetration of electric vehicles, Marcos said.

However, the country’s inadequate supply of renewable energy remains an issue.

“We have to look properly at what the real timetable is for the introduction of electric vehicles,” he said.