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Transport groups to protest drive vs old vehicles

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups are poised to stage a strike to oppose the government campaign against smoke belching and dilapidated vehicles.

George San Mateo, leader of the transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON), said a strike will be held in the coming days against the crackdown on old and dilapidated vehicles being initiated by the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (IACT). 

San Mateo said they will also hold a rally against the government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.

San Mateo refused to disclose the schedule of the transport strike to surprise authorities. 

He added that the corrupt practices of officials in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is the reason why there are old and dilapidated vehicles in the streets.  

Thomas Orbos, undersecretary for road transport and infrastructure of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), said they will not be swayed by any strikes. 

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“You can debate with us about PUV (public utility vehicles) modernization, but issues on roadworthiness and road safety, that’s non-negotiable,” Orbos said. 

Orbos, who is also the head of the IACT, said their campaign for road safety and road worthiness of public transport vehicles will continue outside Metro Manila. 

The transportation in some parts of Metro Manila was reportedly paralyzed on Friday due to the intensified “tanggal bulok, tanggal usok” campaign of the IACT.

Orbos, however, denied the report. 

“No, it was not paralyzed. What are we talking about? Only less than a thousand apprehensions done. How can we be the one cause of the problem?” he said. 

Orbos said the DOTr is now looking for solutions to help commuters affected by their campaign.

Orbos urged commuters to take a stand against old and dilapidated PUVs and demand a better transport system. He also asked them not to be used by the transport groups against the DOTr. 

On the other hand, other transport groups like The Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), Pasang Masda and the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) support IACT’s campaign. 

The Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines (LTOP) and Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator ng Pilipinas Genuine Organization (Stop and Go) coalition also support the campaign. 

The IACT launched its campaign last Monday, running after PUVs that failed road-worthiness tests of the LTO.   

Since Monday, the IACT has apprehended 800 motorists for various violations, which include smoke belching, driving with defective spare parts, worn-out tires, no seatbelt, among others. 

Of the 800 apprehensions, the IACT said 80 percent of them committed only minor violations.

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