Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson received the backing of transport groups in the Calabarzon district for his presidential bid in 2022, following a meeting with them in Lipa City in Batangas, on Tuesday.
Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, vowed to help the transport groups address the issues affecting them, especially during the pandemic.
“I had a no-holds-barred dialogue with leaders and members of Fejodap & TODA in Lipa City this morning. Issues affecting the transport industry are more complex than just dealing with the pandemic. Resolving the issues they raised are being addressed. They will hear from me soon,” Lacson, whose father worked as a jeepney driver to send him and his siblings to school, said on his Twitter account.
Present at the consultation were Lipa City mayoralty candidate Retired Gen. Nestor Sanares and vice mayoralty bet Camille Lopez, who expressed support for Lacson.
Aldabest Arnaiz, president of People’s Will, said that while they do not need to stage a caravan for Lacson as they have no vehicles, they can march to show their support.
“Hindi po kami magka-caravan dahil wala kaming mga sasakyan, Pero kaya po naming magmamartsa (We may not have the cars for a caravan but we can march to show our support),” he said.
“Ang tawag po namin sa kanya ay Mr.Clean— ang nagiisang hindi tumanggap ng pork barrel (We call Lacson Mr. Clearn because he is the only senator who refused his pork barrel),” he added. “Hindi lang po Mr. Clean, Mr. Action Man pa (He is not just Mr. Clean, he is also Mr. Action Man)!”
He also said Lacson, during his stint as Philippine National Police chief from 1999 to 2001, brought down crime syndicates.
“Ang pondo ng bayan ay ibabalik sa mga tao sa pamamagitan ng serbisyo publiko (Lacson returned public monies to the public with his brand of public service),” he said.
Among the issues the transport groups raised were the ill effects of jeepney modernization and the Department of Transportation’s “Libreng Sakay” on their livelihood.
“Hindi po namin kailangan ng perang ipinamimigay, kailangan po namin na magtagal ang aming hanapbuhay (We don’t need financial aid. We need our livelihood),” added Solano Roxas, Fejodap president for Calabarzon.
For his part, Lacson said he and fellow senators have already stressed the need to make sure transport groups are prepared for the high costs of modernizing their jeepneys.
“Napakamahal ng jeep ang pagpapalitin ang jeepney. Hindi namin inaprubahan sa Senado. Sabi namin kailangan pag-aralang masusi kasi di kakayanin ng driver. At anong gagawin sa jeep na namamasada pa? Hindi na-resolve ang issue na yan dahil ang napakarami naming tanong sa DOTR hindi nasasagot. Maraming nadisplace lalo ngayong pandemya (It will be expensive to get a new jeepney. That’s why we did not approve the modernization program in the Senate as the drivers cannot afford it. And what will we do with the jeepneys that are still roadworthy? Those are the questions the Department of Transportation has yet to answer. In the meantime, so many drivers are displaced due to the pandemic),” he said.
“Tahasan kong sasabihin na alam ko ang nararamdaman niyo dahil tatay ko mismo ang namamasada (I know what I am saying and I feel your plight because my father was a jeepney driver),” he added.