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Transport group to mount nationwide strike starting Oct. 16

By Brooke Villanueva Published Oct 10, 2023 12:36 pm

Transport group Manibela announced that it will hold a nationwide transport strike starting Oct. 16 to protest the alleged corruption within the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). 

In a press briefing on Monday, Oct. 9, Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena said around 240,000 traditional jeepneys are set to take part in the strike. It will also include its members who are operating UV Express and other public utility vehicles in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, as well as Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. 

"Dadalhin natin ang mga sasakyan natin sa harapan ng LTFRB main, sa harapan ng DOTr, hanggang Malacañang," said Valbuena. "Hindi tayo ba-biyahe, doon na natin itatambak ang ating mga sasakyan kung ayaw nila tayong bigyan ng kabuhayan!"

According to Valbuena, the group agreed to conduct a strike after Jeffrey Tumbado, a former executive assistant of LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III, disclosed the alleged corruption by the agency where PUV operators paid transport officials up to P5 million to get routes, franchises, and special permits, among others.

Tumbado alleged that other agencies in the country like Malacañang are also involved in the issue. He also revealed his plans of filing a complaint against them.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Oct. 9 ordered Guadiz's suspension due to the alleged corruption under his administration. 

"The President does not tolerate any misconduct in his administration and has instructed the immediate investigation of this matter. He strongly condemns dishonesty and duplicity in public service," the statement read. 

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said there is an ongoing probe into the allegations against Guadiz, adding that the latter has been ordered to explain the allegations against him.

Guadiz, meanwhile, said in a statement later in the day that the agency is always ready to fight against any form of corruption within the LTFRB.

"Kagaya nga po ng dati na nating ginagawa, patuloy po nating aayusin at titiyakin na mananatili tayong patas sa paglilingkod sa ating mga stakeholder," he said.

"As of this morning, nasa opisina naman ako at wala pa po akong nalalaman na anumang opisyal na inihain laban po sa atin pero kung mayroon man, haharapin naman po natin ito dahil malinis po ang ating kalooban," he added.