Duterte threatens transport groups defying PUJ modernization with arrest
MARAWI CITY – President Duterte on Tuesday said that all public utility jeepneys (PUJ) will be phased out next year and those who will defy this will be arrested and their units impounded.
Speaking before troops here, Duterte said the current types of PUJ “are poisoning the people,” especially the poor, and he even went on to blast militants, including Piston, for rallying people to object the jeepney modernization program.
He said transport groups like Piston “once in a while go on strike, putting everybody in a very uncomfortable situation” but he was bent on implementing the program.
Addressing PUJ owners, Duterte said it was them who declined to fix their engines in the first place and let them spew poison.
“You do not want to fix your engines, which were used already but had been overhauled. Those are really machines that should be phased out. You see, they are smoke belchers and our poor fellow Filipinos who do not have cars, aircon suck everything,” the President said.
“This is what I will do, either you modernize next year, sell your jeeps to the junkyards. Next year, I don’t want to see any single PUJ (on the streets) because if I see one, you will be arrested. Do not resist anymore because I am telling the truth, this is the law,” Duterte added.
He said no one will be allowed to “get away.”
“You always say you are poor but Piston, (Kilusang) Mayo Uno and Bayan are riding on you,” Duterte added.
In an earlier statement, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Piston was the lone group that did not support the program.
“The government, through the LTFRB will continue with the discussions, consultations and further collaboration with members of the public transport sector,” Abella said.
Groups opposing the program said the poor drivers and operators could not possibly afford the new and electronic jeepneys the government had proposed for use.
The plan would also allegedly result in higher fares, which would make consumers suffer more.
Under the government’s plan, drivers would have to buy new e-jeeps under a government subsidy program.
Groups opposing it said even with the subsidy, small and independent operators would still not be able to afford it.
But Duterte said small operators did not have to worry about shelling out big cash.
“If you cannot afford it, I am okay even if you just pay P1 per day,” he said.
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