Drivers slam DOTC plan to phase out .6 M jeepneys
Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers gathered in front of the Department of Transportation and Communications building in Mandaluyong City yesterday to protest the DOTC’s plan to phase out at least 600,000 jeepneys.

George San Mateo, president of the Pinagkakaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operaytors Nationwide (PISTON) said the DOTC is not after modernization but corporatization of PUJs.

The drivers insisted that their jeepneys are still roadworthy and in good repair.

“The real measurement of roadworthiness and efficiency is not based on the age of the vehicle but its current state,” San Mateo said.

The phase-out scheme would also affect at least 250,000 small-time jeepney operators nationwide.

The DOTC had earlier announced plans to modernize the country’s transportation sector by phasing out 15-year-old public utility vehicles, including jeepneys and buses, their age based on their date of manufacture.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the phase-out was also meant to address the pollution caused by the jeepney’s old engines.

San Mateo said the DOTC is asking the jeepney operators to instead purchase from the agency electronic jeepneys, which he claims will be imported from other countries.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the agency is still in the middle of consultation and dialogue with stakeholders.

San Mateo said while the government wants operators to purchase e-jeepneys to replace diesel-dependent vehicles, the government has made no efforts to subsidize the high cost of these vehicles.

The group also said the government should instead subsidize local assemblers to enable them to modernize the jeepney.           

ACIRC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS GEORGE SAN MATEO LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD MANDALUYONG CITY NBSP OPERAYTORS NATIONWIDE PINAGKAKAISANG SAMAHAN SAN MATEO SECRETARY JOSEPH EMILIO ABAYA TSUPER
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