• President, jeep groups meet on phaseout

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    MalacaÑang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to meet with jeepney groups that staged a transport strike on Monday over a government plan to phase out their vehicles.

    In a news conference, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte intends to listen to concerns of jeepney operators and drivers on the planned phaseout of aging jeepneys 15 years and older.

    This came after the President met with various labor groups in Malacañang on Monday to discuss the issue of labor contractualization.

    “The President also assured the workers group that he would be holding a separate meeting with the jeepney strikers who held a national strike on the controversial plan to phase out old jeepneys,” Abella told reporters.
    “It was an assurance that he would also listen to them, to their concerns,” he said.

    The Palace official, however, added that Duterte’s meeting with transport groups is yet to be scheduled.

    “There’s no definite date but it will be held, yes,” Abella said.

    A nationwide transport strike was staged last Monday, in response to government’s failure to listen to transport groups’ plea to scrap the proposed phaseout of old jeepneys in the country.

    The jeepney groups are opposing the order of the Department of Transportation to prohibit jeepney models that are 15 years old and older from plying their routes.

    Transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) said the proposed phaseout of jeepneys will affect 600,000 drivers and 200,000 operators nationwide.

    Under the draft of the department order, which shall take effect on August 16, 2017, the minimum capitalization of a jeepney operator will be raised to P7 million.

    Operators will need to have at least 10 jeepney units to have a franchise to operate.

    Drivers and operators have expressed their opposition to the plan, saying this will affect small-time operators and thousands of drivers who will lose their means of livelihood.

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