Own rides? Arjo Atayde office explains ’37 vehicles’ during strike

March 6, 2023 - 5:22 PM
Arjo Atayde-service-vehicles
Service vehicles donated by Rep. Arjo Atayde (Quezon City, First District) to the Quezon City government on June 29, 2021 as uploaded on the city government's Facebook page (QCGov/Facebook)

An office of a neophyte lawmaker clarified the number of vehicles it is providing to commuters during the week-long transport strike of traditional jeepney and UV Express drivers and operators.

This came after reports said that Rep. Arjo Atayde (Quezon City, First District) on Saturday “expressed his willingness to mobilize his own 37 vehicles” to aid commuters of his district and nearby areas amid the protests.

“In my own little way, I am willing to help my district and nearby areas here in QC by providing our own vehicles to help the commuters, especially our medical frontliners,” the actor-turned-politician said before.

“We really need to have a plan to minimize the disruption of transportation during the strike. First of all, there must be stand-by trucks and buses ready for deployment to pick up stranded commuters all over different cities especially our medical frontliners, among others,” Atayde added.

He also previously appealed to transport groups to hold dialogues before participating in mass demonstrations, which he said should be the “last resort.”

On Monday, Atayde’s office said it is offering L300 vehicles to the 37 barangays of Quezon City’s first district to aid commuters amid the protests.

These were the service vehicles he previously provided to several barangays in the city in June 2021.

At that time, the city government said it would be used “to deliver better services to the people.”

The statement from Atayde’s office came after the lawmaker earned flak following earlier reports that he was lending his “own 37 vehicles” to augment the lack of public transportation.

“Maybe someone having thirty-seven (37) personal vehicles is part of the problem? Weird flex but ok,” a Twitter user wrote before.

“37? What are you, a Grab operator?” another online user commented.

“Daig pa PUV [public utility vehicle] operators sa dami ng sasakyan,” wrote a different Pinoy on Twitter.

“This is not nice. This is an abundance of wealth that one has and if they were truly altruistic, they would’ve put that money into charities that prioritize education, accessible housing, etc. If you have the means to have 37 vehicles for yourself, you could’ve made change prior,” another Twitter user said.

Around 100,000 jeepney drivers and operators went on a transport strike on Monday to oppose the government’s pending implementation of the PUV modernization program.

This will continue until March 12.

Transport groups said the program would bury the operators in debt if they shifted to a modern minibus that costs millions.

Others said there would be an increase to the minimum fare hike, a blow to the riding public already dealing with a staggering 8.7% inflation rate.

Some non-transport groups have suggested the government rehabilitate old jeepneys instead of completely phasing them out.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chair Teofilo Guadiz III said that transport workers do not need to fear the modernization program.

He said there are processes for loans for the purchase of new compliant vehicles.