PISTON and its legal representatives trooped to the Supreme Court to file a supplemental motion seeking to expedite the decision on their earlier petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on PUV modernization program’s franchise consolidation deadline on December 31.
The initial petition was filed days before Christmas as the December deadline nears. Despite ever-increasing public backlash, the Marcos administration’s remains insistent on phasing out the most affordable mode of transportation in the country.
The supplemental motion states “The petitioners likewise pray for the immediate issuance of a TRO to prevent the grave and irreparable injury that the petitioners, the jeepney drivers and operators, their families, the commuters and the public in general will suffer. The world will not end if this Honorable Court will restrain the assailed orders’ implementation during the short period that the Court is considering herein petition. However, millions of drivers, operators and their families, as well as commuters all over the country will experience a severe impact on their income and livelihood should the franchise of thousands of PUV operators be cancelled on January 1, 2024.”
PISTON National President Mody Floranda slammed the regime’s heartlessness for pressing modernization amid worsening economic woes. “Daang libong mamamayan ang apektado, mawawalan ng kabuhayan, mababaon sa utang o kaya’y labis na mamomroblema sa dagdag gastusin. Kahit saan mo tignan, walang magandang hatid ang bogus na modernization na ito sa mamamayan. (Hundreds of thousands of citizens are affected, will lose their livelihoods, will be buried in debt or will have serious problems with additional expenses. No matter how you look at it, this bogus modernization brings nothing good to the people),” he said.
According to the Inclusive Cities Advocacy Network (ICAN), modern jeepneys will increase basic fares to around P40-P50. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also said that 73% of Metro Manila’s jeepneys will be disqualified from modernization.
Meanwhile the LTFRB announced allowing some routes to temporarily ply their routes post-deadline as long as they’ve committed to consolidation.
“Panakip-butas lang iyung panukalang iyan. (That proposal is just a stopgap measure),” said Floranda. “Kalaunan, madadamay din sa phaseout ang mga binila ng temporary permit. Patunay na palpak ang buong programa. (Eventually, those who bought temporary permits will also be affected by the phaseout. This proves that the whole program is a failure),”
PISTON and Manibela have also announced a massive mobilization marching towards Malacanang on the 29th, the following day. The action will see many of Metro Manila’s jeepney drivers go on strike for the day to join the demonstration. It also comes off the heels of a successful transport strike in Davao incurring up to 100% paralysis of some routes in the city.
“Lalong lumalabas ang galit ng mamamayan. Dapat itong makita ng Supreme Court at ng buong lipunan. Kagyat at napakaraming bagay ang nakataya. Buhay ng industriya, kapakanan ng karaniwang tsuper at komyuter ang nakataya. (The people’s anger is becoming more evident. The Supreme Court and the whole society should see this. There are urgent and many things at stake. The life of the industry, the welfare of the ordinary drivers and commuters are at stake),” said Floranda.