Joint statement of Kilusang Mayo Uno and Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) released on October 15, 2017
We, public utility jeepney drivers, operators and commuters are united in holding the 2-day nationwide transport strike and people’s protest on October 16-17 to demand the junking of the Duterte administration’s Jeepney Phaseout Program.
Contrary to government’s claims, Duterte’s phaseout program, through the Department of Transportation’s Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, is not modernization but an abandonment of its constitutional duty to provide a safe, efficient and affordable mass transport system as a public service. Just as it did with other public services and utilities, Duterte is handing over our mass transport system to the monopoly control of profit greedy oligarchs and foreign big automotive corporations.
The Duterte administration wants to massacre the livelihood of over 600,000 PUJ drivers and 300,000 small operators and turn our PUJ’s operations into a milking cow of his big business cronies, the Ayalas, Pangilinans, Aboitizes and Cojuangcos. This would also result in an employment crisis as millions will be added in the already ever-increasing number of unemployed Filipinos.
For commuters, it would result in unabated fare hikes with the minimum fare increasing to at least 20 pesos through the Ayala owned BEEP automated fare collection system. It would also cause greater inconveniences as the route rationalization and fleet management scheme would set lesser PUJ routes to favor private vehicles and the big business owned Bus-Rapid-Transit. This would also not ease the traffic crisis as PUJs only compose 2% of total registered vehicles in the country.
Duterte’s phaseout program would also be a burden to all tax payers as the government also aims to impose greater taxes through the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) to subsidize the big businesses and banks investing in the program.
PUJ drivers, operators and commuters should not be the ones to suffer for the government’s bureaucratic corruption, transport misgovernance and private profit oriented policies that has resulted in the country’s anarchic and big-business controlled transport system. The PUJ system is in fact a solution developed by poor Filipinos to cover-up for the government’s failure to address their mass transport woes.
Instead of phasing out PUJs, the government should promote modernization through the nationalization of an affordable, safe and efficient mass transport system. The government cans tart by taking back the MRT and LRT from the Ayalas and Pangilinans and improve its operations to cover the riding public mass transport needs.
Rather than subsidizing the onerous importation and procurement of new PUJ units, the government can use its funds to support our local jeepney manufacturers by subsidizing their modernization and development of greener PUJs.