Home News PISTON files SC petition to block PUVMP, franchise consolidation deadline

PISTON files SC petition to block PUVMP, franchise consolidation deadline

P[ISTON - SC filin

Transport group PISTON filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order (DO) 2017-011, also known as the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG), and other relevant Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issuances mandating franchise consolidation and its December 31, 2023 deadline.

The petition argues that the mandatory consolidation requirement infringes on the constitutional right to freedom of association, rendering it unconstitutional. “The constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association includes the freedom not to associate,” the petition states. The Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) requires operators to consolidate their individual franchises into a single franchise under a cooperative or corporation. The petition further argues that “[The right to freedom of association] does not include the right to compel others to form or join [an association].”

Piston National President Mody Floranda expressed concerns about the potential consequences of the deadline. “Ang pagbawi sa prangkisa dahil sa hindi pagsali sa coop ay labag sa karapatan ng mga drayber at operator,” Floranda said. “Tatanggalan sila ng kabuhayan sa batayan ng hindi nila pagsali sa mga coop.” (Revoking franchises due to non-participation in cooperatives is a violation of the rights of drivers and operators. They will be deprived of their livelihood simply because they didn’t join cooperatives.)

The group estimates that around 140,000 drivers and 60,000 small operators could be displaced and lose their jobs if the December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation remains in effect. This could also negatively impact approximately 28.5 million commuters nationwide, potentially leading to a “transport disaster” in January 2024.

Napatunayan nating walang puso si Marcos Jr dahil malawakang kawalan ng trabaho at malubhang transport disaster ang ibubungad niya sa bagong taon,” Floranda asserted. “Kaya hiling namin sa Korte Suprema na agad itong aksyunan para isalba hindi lang ang kabuhayan ng mga tsuper at operator, kundi ang kapakanan ng mga komyuter.” (We have seen that Marcos Jr. is heartless, as he will usher in widespread unemployment and a severe transport disaster in the new year. Therefore, we urge the Supreme Court to act swiftly to save not only the livelihoods of drivers and operators, but also the well-being of commuters.)