LTFRB strikes back: To revoke franchises of protesting drivers

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will revoke franchises of jeepney drivers who participated in the two-day strike and the rallies initiated by transport group Piston.

This was confirmed by LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada to Rappler on Tuesday, October 17. (EXPLAINER: What's the reason for the 2-day transport strike?)

Asked to clarify what law was allegedly violated by the protesting drivers, Lizada said Memorandum Circular (MC) 2011-004 prohibited drivers from joining strikes as a means of protest.

The MC states: "The PUV (Public Utility Vehicle) operator shall not resort to [a] cessation of service as a sign or demonstration of protest against any government decision or action under pain of suspension or cancellation of the authority to operate granted by the Board."

The order adds: "Nor shall the PUV operator tolerate, allow or authorize personnel to join others committing acts prejudicial to the riding public, including, but not limited to, paralyzing transport services by intimidation, coercion, or violence."

DEMONSTRATION. Transport group Piston leads the protest against the PUV modernization program. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

DEMONSTRATION. Transport group Piston leads the protest against the PUV modernization program.

Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

According to Lizada, they have also received reports that unruly protesters have caused obstruction of roads—additional grounds to revoke drivers' franchises

"Peaceful assembly ok lang po tayo. Do not take the roads...Meron din hong right ang mga tao to drive their own cars as well," Lizada said when she visited the Piston rally along Aurora Boulevard on Tuesday. (Peaceful assemblies are ok. Do not take the roads. Other people also have their rights to drive their own cars as well.)

The LTFRB will take away the certificate of public convenience (CPC) franchises of driver-operators who they know participated in the strike and disrupted traffic in a protest.

Driver-operators can appeal to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for their cases, Lizada said. (READ: DOTr hits Piston 'propaganda' on modernization program)

On top of franchise forfeiture, Lizada said that they will also file a case against Piston president George San Mateo for "violation of the Public Service Law" for supposedly encouraging other people to join permitless protests.

Asked for his reaction, San Mateo said he was unfazed. (READ: Piston threatens Duterte: Talk to us, or we'll give you monthly strikes)

He pointed out that when the complaint has been filed, it will be the LTFRB's second case against him. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.