Transport group PISTON joined the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on Saturday, demanding a pro-people, worker-led just transition in public transport. This comes in opposition to the import-dependent, corporate-driven Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), which is slated to potentially displace thousands of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and small operators by January 2024.
With world leaders convening in Dubai for the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), PISTON took to the streets to criticize the Marcos Jr. administration’s anti-climate and anti-people policies, including the PUVMP.
While the government claims the PUVMP aims to reduce carbon emissions, PISTON argues the program fails to genuinely address the climate crisis or the broader struggles faced by Filipinos, including the economic, human rights, and political crises.
Furthermore, PISTON contends that the PUVMP exacerbates existing inequalities within the public transport sector. The program’s franchise consolidation component, for instance, would benefit large cooperatives and corporations by allowing them to take over consolidated franchises of public utility vehicle routes, ultimately displacing thousands of drivers and small operators across the country.
Despite frequently mentioning climate change in its first year, the Marcos Jr. administration’s commitment to the environment remains questionable. While it has expressed keen interest in introducing electric vehicles, the administration has not addressed the environmental damage and human rights violations associated with large-scale mining operations that extract minerals crucial for electric vehicle production.
PISTON demands a pro-people, worker-led just transition in public transport, emphasizing national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform. This approach prioritizes the rights of workers and the public in all development and modernization programs.