Piston fumes over Marcos' alleged U-turn on jeepneys' plight | Inquirer News

Piston fumes over Marcos’ alleged U-turn on jeepneys’ plight

/ 10:18 AM December 14, 2023


Transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) holds a strike on December 14 in protest of the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation applications. Photo by Arnel Tacson.

Transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) holds a strike on December 14, 2023 in protest of the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation applications. (Photo by Arnel Tacson)

MANILA, Philippines — The supposed “unexpected” shift of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in his stance on the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) surprised a transport group.


Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) recalled that during the campaign season for the 2022 national elections, Marcos allayed fears among the transport sector on the phase-out of traditional jeepneys.


On Thursday, Piston National President Mody Floranda remembered what the chief executive supposedly said a year ago.

“Tandaan po natin, ginamit ni BBM [Bongbong Marcos] ang mga jeep noong panahon ng eleksyon,” Floranda told reporters on the sidelines of the group’s transport strike.

(Let’s remember, BBM [Bongbong Marcos] used jeepneys during the election campaign.)

“Ang sabi ni BBM sa isang malaking asembliya sa Marikina, hindi siya papayag na mawala ang mga traditional jeepneys sapagkat ito ay inalagaan ng kanyang ama,” he said.

(BBM said in a large assembly in Marikina that he wouldn’t allow traditional jeepneys to disappear because his father took care of these vehicles.)


Floranda said this supposed previous view of the Chief Executive is why Marcos’ announcement that the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation caught them off guard.

“Bakit nagma-mandatory ka na wala nang extension eh ang linaw linaw ng posisyon mo noong panahon ng eleksyon?” Piston’s President asked Marcos.

(Why are you mandating the non-extension when your position during the elections was crystal clear?)

“His position was clear that if the [jeepneys] are compliant, there is no reason to not renew their franchise and to keep them in service of the public,” Floranda said in Filipino.

In March, Marcos said the government’s PUVMP is necessary to ensure public transport safety, but its implementation leaves much to be desired.

Marcos noted, according to his own assessment, there is a need to look at the modernization program in “a different way.”

The President said pushing for electric jeepneys is not yet urgent since only 30 percent of the country’s energy source comes from renewable sources.

“Perhaps, we can talk to the transport groups and tell them that we will make changes so it won’t be too burdensome for everyone’s pockets,” Marcos said.

But on Tuesday, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), Marcos said he held a meeting with transport officials wherein they ultimately concluded not to stretch the deadline for the consolidation of jeepney franchises.

The President explained over 70 percent of operators in the country are pro-consolidation.

He also said he cannot “let the minority cause further delays,” – a statement that Piston and other activist groups condemned.

Despite this announcement from the President, Piston continued its transport strike.

It asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to junk the December 31 deadline.

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Piston’s strike was initially scheduled for December 14 to 15 (Thursday to Friday).

However, Floranda said the duration of the protest depends on whether or not the government will heed the transport group’s call.

TAGS: Deadline, franchise, jeepneys, strike

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