LOOK: Drivers, operators protest vs jeepney modernization plan
MANILA, Philippines – Public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators from various groups on Monday staged a protest action against the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
About 60 drivers and operators from the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) trooped to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) main office bearing streamers and placards denouncing the government’s modernization initiative.
“Mariin nating kinokondena ang LTFRB sa mga panloloko, panlilinlang, misrepresentation na ginagawa dito sa pagpapatupad ng PUV modernization program na para sa amin ay isa lang big business, money-making venture ng gobyerno (We condemn the LTFRB for its misrepresentation and deceit in implementing the PUV modernization program, which, to us, is just a money-making venture of the government),” Piston president George Mateo told reporters.
Aside from blasting the jeepney phaseout program, Piston also denounced the new round of oil price hikes this week.
Another group, the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (Acto), also joined the protest. As a show of force, as many as 500 passenger jeeps packed with its members arrived at the LTFRB office.
While they are not against the idea of modernizing the PUV, Acto president Efren de Luna said the group is opposing some of the program’s provisions which are impossible for the drivers and operators to follow.
Among such policies is the requirement to have a depot or terminal if an operator has 200 units.
“Ang hinahanap nila ay ‘yung depot. Saan ka hahanap ng lupa na kasya ‘yung 200 units? Doon pa lang sa kalakaran na ‘yun, kami ay bagsak na,” De Luna told reporters in an interview.
The group also wanted to ask the LTFRB of what would happen to drivers and operators who would not be able to comply with the program by 2020, De Luna said.
He pointed out that the program is still being discussed in the Senate and House of Representatives, putting some of the drivers and operators in the quandary whether they will modernize their jeepneys or not.
“Paano kami makakapagpagawa ng jeep at sumunod sa alituntunin nila eh dinidinig pa sa Kongreso at Senado yung program at hindi pa nila nasusubmit yung mga dapat isumbit. So paano kami ngayon makakapag simula ng proyekto,” the Acto president explained.
The group were supposed to hold a strike on Monday but decided to call it off so that commuters would not be affected.
“Dinaan namin sa tamang proseso, hindi tayo nag-strike, hindi natin pinahirapan yung tao, baka dito pa lamang, makuha na namin ang kasagutan nila,” De Luna said.
“Pero ang lumabas, wala silang kasagutan, nagtago sa looban ng kanilang ahensya,” he added. /gsg
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