A year has passed under the regime of Marcos Jr., and to our dismay, the livelihood of our dedicated drivers and small operators remains under threat. However, during his State of the Nation Address (SONA), there wasn’t a single mention of our welfare.
The demand to junk the PUV phaseout remained unaddressed, and promises of “review” and “consultation” for the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and PUV Modernization Program were left unfulfilled. There were no significant programs aimed at investing in and strengthening local public mass transportation or providing subsidies for our drivers and operators.
Instead, the SONA revolved around projects focused on roads, expressways, and bridges, with Marcos Jr. boasting about the Php 8.3-trillion “Build Better More” program, which mainly benefits large private developers and foreign businesses.
We witness the true face of Marcos Jr. and similar bureaucrat-capitalist who prioritize the interests of big foreign corporations and local compradors over the well-being of our workers.
Unsurprisingly, the PUV Phaseout persists, primarily benefiting foreign auto companies, banks, and corporations seeking to monopolize public transportation. Under this flawed modernization plan, our franchises are being seized to consolidate power in the hands of a privileged few large corporations.
Furthermore, Marcos Jr. continues to appease the oil cartel, taking no steps to scrap the Oil Deregulation Law or to nationalize the oil industry. Excise taxes and VAT on oil remain in place, keeping our income captive to foreign corporations holding a monopoly on gasoline.
During the March transport strike in his first year in power, our collective action forced him to slightly address our concerns and promise a review and consultation on OFG and PUVMP. Should our grievances go unheard and the bogus modernization program persists, we are ready to launch another massive strike.
For decades, we have fought against the massacre of our livelihoods, beginning with the oppressive rule of Marcos Jr.’s dictator father. We have been part of the movement that ousted his fascist and dictatorial regime, advocating for the basic rights of the people. As the genuine, militant, and patriotic national federation of PUV drivers and operators, we will continue to advance the struggle.
Let us continue to strengthen our unity. Through our united actions, we will combat the monopoly control of big foreign businesses in public transportation. Together, we shall succeed in rejecting the false PUV Modernization Program and protect our livelihoods from capitalist control.