Ahead of Marcos Jr’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), transport group PISTON reminds Marcos Jr to junk the DOTr Department Order 2017-011 or the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) which is being used as basis for the implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) and PUV phaseout.
“We want the drivers and operators to hear real plans, not just embellishments and gimmicks of rebranding,” said Mody Floranda, PISTON National President. “Where are the genuine plans? If it’s all about making things look good but lacks substance, then it’s just deceiving the public. What we need is an immediate rejection of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG), rejection of franchise consolidation, and the reinstatement of the five-year franchise for public utility vehicles (PUV).”
PISTON said the government should start recognizing the real state of the nation, especially the state of PUV drivers and operators who are always on the brink of losing their livelihood due to unfair policies under the PUVMP. They estimate that around 300,000 PUV drivers and operators will be displaced if the Marcos Jr administration continues with the PUVMP.
“Does the government want the drivers to resort to begging on the streets again because their franchises have been taken away? How can that be a ‘New Philippines’ if the lives of poor Filipinos are hanging in the balance?” added Floranda.
The group also slams the desperate efforts of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to force PUV operators to consolidate their franchises, even going as much as collaborating with state forces and with the NTF-ELCAC.
“It is clear that the government is desperately trying to seize the franchises of operators to hand them over to their accomplices, local big businessmen, and foreign suppliers of modern jeeps,” said Floranda. “Even the police and NTF-ELCAC are getting involved, but they contribute nothing beneficial; all they know is intimidation and red-tagging.”
PISTON said they are ready to join the strike and mobilize on SONA.