Jeepney modernization would lead to loss of jobs – leftist group

Aika Rey
Jeepney modernization would lead to loss of jobs – leftist group
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan says only companies with millions of pesos in capital can afford the proposed 'fleet management system'

MANILA, Philippines – Leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged the public to support the two-day nationwide transport strike set for Monday to Tuesday, October 16 and 17.

In a statement on Sunday, October 15, Bayan said the looming phaseout of old public utility vehicle (PUV) models by 2020 would only bring “displacement and loss of livelihood” among drivers and operators.

“Bagama’t kailangang iangat ang kalidad ng mga jeepney at kalagayan ng mga manggagawa sa transportasyon, displacement o kawalan ng kabuhayan ng libo-libong tsuper at operator sa ngalan ng pribadong tubo ang hatid ng pinaplanong Omnibus Franchising Guidelines,” the leftist group said.

(While there is a need to improve the quality of jeepneys and the condition of workers in the transport sector, the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines would only bring displacement or loss of livelihood to thousands of drivers and operators in the name of profit.)

Back in June, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched the PUV modernization program, mandating the replacement of jeepneys aged 15 years or older. (READ: Buses, jeepneys in the Philippines to be modernized by 2020)

Bayan said members of the transport sector need the understanding of the public as a new jeepney would cost at least P1 million. (READ: Is the PUV modernization program ‘anti-poor?’)

The group added that only companies with millions of pesos in capital can afford the proposed “fleet management system” that sets a minimum of 10 units per franchise.

“Sa huli, mapag-iiwanan nito ang maliliit na driver-operator habang mga kumpaniyang may milyon-milyong pisong kapital lang ang kayang pumasa,” Bayan said.

(In the end, small-time driver-operators will be left behind as only companies with millions of pesos in capital would be able to meet government standards.)

State-run transport

Despite the protest, Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said on Sunday that workers from the transport sector “do not oppose modernization.” (READ: Yes, Pedro, we need to modernize the jeepney)

“We know there are many problems confronting the transport sector and many commuter complaints are valid. But corporatization? Giving big business control of the transport sector? Haven’t we learned enough from MRT and LRT?” he said in a Facebook post. (READ: DOTr eyes MRT3 buyout under Duterte admin)

Bayan suggested that the government invest in a high-quality mass transport system instead.

“Upang magkaroon ng abot-kaya, ligtas, at mahusay na serbisyong pangtransportasyon, kailangang isabansa ang mass transport system na patakbo ng estado’t nakasandig sa industriyalisadong ekonomiya,” the group said. 

(To have affordable, safe, and high-quality transportation, the mass transport system should be run by the state with the support of the industrial economy.)

The transport strike from Monday to Tuesday is the 3rd one organized by transport group Piston this year. (READ: Hundreds stranded amid jeepney transport strike)

It prompted Malacañang to cancel classes at all levels in public and private schools nationwide, as well as government work on Monday.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also suspended number coding in the entire Metro Manila for both private and public vehicles. (READ: Creating sustainable transport systems: PH’s progress so far)

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Visayas will deploy special buses for stranded passengers during the strike. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.