Transport group PISTON called on the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to suspend the full implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) which is set to phaseout traditional jeepneys that failed to comply with its requirements by April 2023.
Mody Floranda, the national president of PISTON, said the implementation of the 2017 Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order (DO) No. 2017-011, which stipulates the rules and requirements of the PUVMP, has been a blatant failure from the start. “Malaking bahagi pa rin ng mga operator ang ayaw pumaloob sa PUVMP dahil sa mataas na gastusin para magpalit ng mga sasakyan at sa posibilidad na mawalan ng kabuhayan ‘pag pumasok sa franchise consolidation.”
Given these circumstances, the group said the reasonable way for the DOTr and the LTFRB to address these concerns is to fully suspend the implementation of the DOTr DO 2017-011 and all its supplementing LTFRB memoranda while conducting a thorough review of the program.
“Sa proseso ng pagrerebyu ng buong programa ng modernization, dapat tiyakin ng gobyerno na masusing nakokonsulta ang mga tsuper at maliliit na operator ng PUV. Dahil libo-libong kabuhayan ang nakasalalay dito, mahalagang katuwang kami ng pamahalaan sa pagtukoy kung paano ba ang mas makatuwiran at makatarungang transisyon at modernisasyon,” added Floranda.
PISTON was able to face LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz and DOTr Sec. Jaime Bautista in separate dialogues in January wherein they submitted and laid out six immediate demands in relation to the PUVMP and other urgent issues of transport workers:
- Suspend and review the implementation of the DO 2017-11 and all its supplementary memoranda including the mandatory Franchise Consolidation.
- Bring back the 5-year validity of all PUV franchises.
- Reinstate the “Sale and Transfer” of franchises.
- Open all PUV routes closed during the pandemic.
- Efficiently expedite the fuel subsidy directly to all PUV drivers and expand a separate cash aid program for small operators for the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles.
- Suspend all fines and penalties for the late filing of renewal of franchises.
The group reiterates that they do not oppose modernizing traditional jeepneys. However, any transport modernization program should ensure and prioritize a fair and just transition for transport workers and all affected vulnerable sectors.
“Hindi dapat kalimutan ng gobyerno na katuwang nila ang sektor ng transportasyon sa pagpapaunlad ng ekonomiya. Tungkulin nilang pakinggan at tugunan ang aming mga hinaing lalo na pagdating sa mga polisiyang nagdudulot ng matinding panganib sa mga kabuhayan namin,” said Floranda.