Implement sustainable pro-people public mass transport system – CPDG

December 15, 2023

PRESS RELEASE – 15 December 2023

The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) supports the nationwide mass transport strike by jeepney operators and drivers to protest the Philippine government’s directive to consolidate jeepney franchises by December 31, 2023.

On December 13, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  declared that there would be no extension to the deadline for public utility vehicle (PUV) operators’ consolidation. He underscored that the program, designed to modernize the transport system with dignity and humanity, should not face hindrance from the minority.

In a Facebook statement, Marcos Jr. asserted that approximately 70% of operators pledged commitment to consolidating their franchises under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP).

The government considers the PUVMP as the answer to improving the quality of public transportation.

CPDG says Marcos Jr.’s decision is insensitive to the plight of jeepney drivers and the commuting public. According to PISTON (Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide), the PUVMP will adversely impact 21 million commuters and disenfranchise more than 100,000 drivers and 40,000 operators. Including their families, this translates to more than 500,000 Filipinos economically displaced by 2024.

According to IBON Foundation, the mandatory franchise consolidation overlooks individual franchises and only favors cooperatives or corporations because traditional jeepneys and UVE vehicles not consolidated into a cooperative or cooperation will no longer be allowed to operate.

Additional burden for Filipinos 

PISTON announced a nationwide transport strike on December 14-15, to protest the consolidation of jeepney franchises as the December 31 deadline approaches.

The PUVMP shows Marcos Jr. administration’s indifference to the struggle of PUV operators, drivers and the daily commuters. The franchise consolidation threatens to worsen the impact of privatization and corporatization of the transport system by raising jeepney fares by 300-400% over the next few years.

“The sudden requirement to invest in the purchase of new, modern jeepneys, along with the phasing out of old jeepneys not only poses a significant financial burden to jeepney drivers and operators but also affects the daily consumer, pushing both sectors into poverty in income and in livelihood”, says Prof. Reggie Vallejos, spokesperson of the consumer group Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Konsyumer para sa Ikauunlad ng bayan (SUKI).

There are more pressing issues the government needs to address. The consolidation of PUV franchises only adds to the daily struggle of Filipinos. Instead of pushing the PUVMP, the government should implement a genuinely sustainable and pro-people public mass transportation system.#eof#

Photo credit: Mayday Multimedia