Partial victory in fight vs PUVMP 'won through collective action,' says PISTON

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Partial victory in fight vs PUVMP 'won through collective action,' says PISTON
Members and supporters of transport groups PISTON and MANIBELA come together in a protest against jeepney phase out and consolidation deadline under the PUV Modernization Program last January 2024
Released / PISTON

MANILA, Philippines — Groups welcomed the government's three-month extension for public utility vehicle (PUV) consolidation, but said that it's still a long way to go before the repeal of the "corporate-driven" phase-out and modernization program.

This comes after Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil on Wednesday night confirmed President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' extension to April 30, giving thousands of drivers and operators of jeepneys and UV Express a chance to avoid unemployment.

"[T]housands of jeepney drivers and operators as well as millions of commuters gained a partial victory," said progressive transport group PISTON in a statement last night.

"Our relentless collective action and determination to defend our public transport has compelled the Marcos regime to extend the deadline for franchise consolidation to April 30."



The president's decision came after a series of transport strikes, protests and filing a Supreme Court petition were earlier arranged by PISTON and MANIBELA after the government earlier set a December 31 deadline for drivers and operators to consolidate into cooperatives and corporations.

Prior to this, unconsolidated drivers and operators were only given until January 31 to operate. After which, erring jeepney units will have to be impounded for being considered "colorum."

The consolidation process is one of the state's requisites under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP). Under this, operators are only given 27 months before old jeepneys and UV Express units are phased out in favor of more "eco-friendly" e-jeeps and minibuses, vehicles that could cost up to P2.8 million each.

"However, a deadline extension is not enough. PISTON will continue mobilizing until the corporate-driven PUV modernization program is repealed and until a progressive public mass transport system is in place," the group said.

LTFRB to comply

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), on the other hand, gave their word that they will comply with the president's latest order.

"The LTFRB will adhere to President 'Bongbong' Marcos's directive to extend the consolidation of [PUVs] until April 30, 2024," said LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III on Wednesday night.

"Operators and drivers are encouraged to take advantage of this oppurtunity provided by the president."

Prior to this, only 145,721 jeepneys and UV Express units (76%) have consolidated before 2024. This means another 24% are still currently unconsolidated.

On Monday, PISTON said that around 500 remain unconsolidated in Metro Manila alone, which according to them, is enough to cause a public transport disaster. On a nationwide scale, the LTFRB said that 1,767 routes are still unconsolidated.

GMA Integrated News Research compiled data revealing that the reported 1,767 routes only account for jeepney routes, excluding an additional 181 UV Express routes that remain unconsolidated. This increases the unconsolidated routes to 1,948.

Bicol was said to have the most unconsolidated jeepneys at 451, higher than the 214 consolidated units within Region V.

Fight vs phase out continues

MANIBELA expressed gratitude to those who believed in the power of collective action, noting that their fight against the jeepney and PUV phase-out since 2017 has proven fruitful, benefiting not only them but also commuters.

The group also welcomed the House Committee on Transport for approving on Wednesday a resolution urging Marcos to reconsider the deadline for franchise consolidation. However, they said that the fight continues.

"This will not junk the failed and pro-foreigner PUV modernization program, but this [resolution] will serve as a starting point to drum up our campaign until it is utimately scrapped," said MANIBELA in Filipino.

"We need to link arms, strengthen and broaden [our ranks] to junk the consolidation and corruption of the PUVMP... Everyone who has already consolidated are welcome here at MANIBELA. No driver, operator and commuter will be left behind."



vuukle comment









  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with