According to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is determined in modernizing jeepneys and other public utility vehicles (PUVs) in the country amid claims of transport strike success by various groups.
“Past administrations wanted to modernize transportation, but every time people wave flags saying that the program is anti-poor, they take a step back. This has to stop,” Tugade said.
Yesterday, PUV drivers and operators held a transport strike in opposition to the proposal of old jeepney and UV Express phaseout by next year.
Tugade, on the other hand, prompted those who are not in favor of the modernization program to still respect other people’s rights and think about what will benefit the majority.
“Break that and I will fight you. Modernization should be implemented now,” he said.
In 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched the PUV Modernization Program which seeks to make an efficient and environmental-friendly public transportation in the country by 2020.
This initiative will then require old jeepney units to be replaced with PUVs powered by brand new Euro 4-compliant engine or an electric engine to minimize pollution.
Other than that, this program also aims to bring commuters a safer transport system as it helps lessen the effect of climate change.
Meanwhile, Martin Delgra, chairman of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), echoed that the government is bent on implementing the PUV modernization as ordered by the Duterte.
Moreover, Delgra warned that Land Transportation Office (LTO) may suspend or revoke PUV drivers’ licenses if they take part in the demonstration.
He also announced the LTFRB already cancelled 25 franchises after joining the 2017 and 2018 transport strikes.
Despite this, a leader of jeepney drivers’ organization claimed that the strike staged yesterday was a success after freezing about 95% Metro Manila routes.
Mody Floranda, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) president, said that most PUV drivers and operators cooperated in the transport strike in the metropolis, wherein around three million people use jeepneys on a regular basis.
Floranda also asked the consideration of the public as they are not only fighting for their rights but also for the commuters’ rights to a cheap and convenient transportation.
“We ask for the understanding of commuters, because if we do not act, time will come when there will be no more jeepneys and fares will be higher,” he said.
The Piston president also wishes that Duterte would hear their concern and trash the DOTr’s proposal to modernize PUVs.