LTFRB open to granting 5-year franchise for jeepneys

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is willing to grant jeepney operators a five-year franchise.

"Iyong area na puwede naming pag-usapan, iyong five-year na prangkisa nila [The area we can talk about would be their five-year franchise], we are willing to sit down with them and agree to that," LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III said Monday -– the first day of the transport strike led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON).

The LTFRB currently provides a one-year provisional authority in line with the government's public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program. The deadline for the PUV franchise consolidation is on Dec. 31.

Guadiz explained that the end-of-year deadline does not imply a total phase-out of traditional jeepneys, or require drivers and operators to buy brand-new modernized units.

"Our only request to them is to consolidate into a corporation or a cooperative because this is an initial step for the fleet modernization," he said.

"The moment na sumama sila sa modernization program, pwede namin ibigay yung five years na hinihingi nila [The moment they join the modernization program, we can give them the five years they are asking for]," Guadiz added.

PISTON, however, insisted on seeing signed copies of the LTFRB's promises.

The group also said the three-day strike will continue until authorities provide them with definite answers to their grievances.

"Sabi nila inaayos lang ang dokumento pero approve sa kanila yung limang taon. Anong saysay yung limang taon kung wala na tayong unit?" PISTON President Mody Floranda said after his dialogue with Guadiz. "Ang sinasabi natin dapat dokumentado para meron tayong pinanghahawakan."

[Translation: They said they were just fixing the document, but they approve of the five years. What's the point of the five years if we don't have a unit anymore? It must be documented so we have something to hold on to.]

PISTON earlier said the Nov. 20-22 strike was set after the government rejected its request to remove the Dec. 31 deadline to consolidate franchises.

It also called for the suspension of the entire program following the recent proposed amendments to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG).

"Pinaasa lang ang mga tsuper at operator para magmukha sa madla na may malasakit ang LTFRB. Ang sagot ng mga tsuper at operator: Tuloy ang welga. Tuloy and laban," PISTON said.

[Translation: The drivers and operators were given false hopes to make it appear to the public that the LTFRB cares. The response of drivers and operators: The strike continues. The fight continues.]