BACOLOD CITY: Members of the transport sector here will stage “untat byahe” (the Ilonggo version of tigil pasada) simultaneous with the planned nationwide transport strike on Monday to call for a stop to the implementation of the phaseout of old and outmoded public utility vehicles (PUVs) 15 years and above. (See related story on A8 “Transport strike set on Monday”).
Joining the mass protest are the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (Undoc), Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Associations (Febacda), Sentrong Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Negros (Sstone), Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator (Piston), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Social Action Center.
Diego Malacad, Undoc secretary general, said about 90 percent of the drivers belonging to their group will not ply their routes on Monday to join the call to stop the phaseout of 15-year models of public utility vehicles, public utility jeepneys and public utility buses.
Malacad said the untat-biyahe will take place from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday.
Drivers and operators will camp out at Magsaysay, Ramos, Libertad, North Terminal, Burgos and Lopues East and then gather at the Bacolod Government Center replica on Araneta-Gonzaga streets, he added.
Malacad said they have already coordinated with the Department of Education since the stoppage of trips would affect commuters, especially students who are going to school on Monday.
Reacting to the proposed phaseout, Febacda president Elizabeth Katalbas told members of the Negros Press Club here that public utility vehicle modernization, which seems to have been planned for the benefit of big transport companies, severely affects small drivers and operators.
Katalbas said other transport groups in the Panay area will also join the mass action.
Jessie Ortega, Sstone secretary-general, said the phasing out of 15-year-old model PUVs started in 2012 and last week the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board did not renew the permits of old jeepneys.
Eugene Y. Adiong