By Vanne Ellaine Terrazola
Transport group PISTON will stage protests on Sunday and Monday to denounce the signing of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) that will rationalize the routes of public utility vehicles (PUVs).
The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) is set to hold a candle-lighting vigil in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Central Office on Sunday afternoon.
PISTON president George San Mateo said this is a primer to the nationwide protest caravan they will again hold on Monday, to oppose the signing of the OFG on the same day.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will launch Monday afternoon its PUV Modernization Program which promotes the use of modern and environment-friendly PUVs on the road.
During the event, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade is expected to sign the OFG which will provide the rules on the release of franchises being granted to PUV operators.
It is also seen to address colorum operations as it will lift the 13-year moratorium on the release of new PUV franchises.
PISTON, however, has been firm in opposing the modernization program. San Mateo, in a press briefing Friday, said it will favor big businesses instead of poor jeepney drivers and operators who cannot afford to buy Euro-4 engine, electronic, or hybrid units.
Sought for comment, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said she respects PISTON’s staging of protests, but said she hopes that San Mateo will meet them in a dialogue.
In their June 5 protest, Lizada faced San Mateo and invited him to a dialogue on the modernization program and the OFG. The latter, however, refused and said they should be provided first the draft to be able to review its provisions.
The Metro Manila protest caravan on Monday will start at 6 a.m. at the National Housing Authority office on Elliptical Road. Like their previous caravans, the group will make a stop at the LTFRB office before proceeding to the DOTr office in Mandaluyong.
Tags: Arthur Tugade, Department of Trasportation, jeepney, LTFRB, Manila Bulletin, Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, PISTON, public utility vehicle, Transport group to protest rationalization of PUV routes
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