PUVs in the Philippines

Groups offer ways for Filipinos to oppose PUV modernization program

Jene-Anne Pangue

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Groups offer ways for Filipinos to oppose PUV modernization program
Here's how you can take part in these initiatives to oppose the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program

MANILA, Philippines – As the year-end deadline of traditional jeepney phaseout in the country draws near, several groups called on Filipinos to “strike a stand to save jeepneys” and oppose the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

Groups such as Bayan, Anakbayan, and PISTON said that based on current numbers, around 30,000 jeepneys could be off the road by 2024, leading to an “imminent transport crisis.”

Artist and creatives groups such as PURVEYR, Kwago, Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines, Makò Micro-Press, Mayday Multimedia, Tarantadong Kalbo, Didi Nyunyu, and Dan Matutina formed an Ad Hoc Coalition of Filipino Creatives to Save The Jeepney.

They also called on the government to reconsider the December 31 PUV consolidation deadline and reassess the PUVMP as it “clearly prioritizes the private sector over public interests.” It also threatens job loss of more than 200,000 drivers and operators, they said. (READ: Jeepney drivers fight Marcos’ ‘unjust’ modernization push as deadline nears)

To gather support from Filipinos against the jeepney phaseout, groups initiated a petition-signing campaign and an online exhibition, among others. These virtual calls came in conjunction with the two-week strike organized by transport groups. 

What’s the controversy surrounding PUVMP?

The PUVMP is a government program that intends to replace traditional jeepneys with modern ones that are supposed to release less carbon emissions, gases that contribute to climate change.

This is a laudable goal, but several groups, including jeepney operators and drivers, have criticized the implementation of the program. They say the cost of the new jeepneys is too steep, with too little financial support for jeepney drivers and operators.

The December 31 deadline currently being opposed by these groups is the deadline for jeepney drivers and operators to form cooperatives, the only way they can have access to certain loans that will allow them to buy the modern jeepneys.

To learn more about the PUVMP and why some commuter groups are critical of it, read this piece by mobility advocate Toix Cerna, who has studied the program since it began in 2017 under the Duterte administration.

Here’s how you can take part in these initiatives: 

Sign online petitions

Ad Hoc Coalition of Filipino Creatives to Save The Jeepney initiated a petition on Friday, December 29, to cancel the year-end deadline for franchise consolidation of jeepneys, and give more time and support for jeepney drivers and operators to be able to comply.

They argued that while the program intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, any solution to the climate problem should be inclusive and just to various sectors of society. 

The coalition believes the modernization program forces transport workers into deep debt and makes commuters bear the brunt of the costs of energy transition.

This petition and solidarity letter is expected to be sent to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday, December 30. 

Meanwhile, the National Union of Students of The Philippines (NUSP) also launched a change.org petition to support PUV drivers and operators in their fight against the franchise consolidation. As of writing, the petition already gathered more than 13,000 signatures. This petition is also being amplified by Kabataan Partylist and UP High School Iloilo (UPHSI) Goldies.

Join the online art exhibit

The same coalition also urged the public to submit an original poster that would help amplify and spread the call to junk the PUV modernization program deadline for franchise consolidation.

According to the group, these posters will be downloadable for free use and distribution for campaign and educational purposes only. Old and new art works are also welcome. 

To join the online exhibit, sign the petition here and submit your art work using the email subject “HINDI PEPRENO EXHIBIT 2023” to kwagopublishinglab@protonmail.com. More details here

Another way to support the online art exhibit is to download and print the posters made by artists and post it online or offline, which can be found here

‘Design Your Own Jeepney’ 

Artist group Panday Sining launched the “Design your own jeepney” campaign, where commuters can download its customizable jeepney artwork, design and color it, and post on social media. 

This campaign is done to not only to show support to PUV drivers and operators but to promote the rich Philippine culture and historical significance of jeepneys.

Download and customize the jeepney artwork here

Do you know of any other similar initiatives? What do you think of the PUV modernization program? Email them to move.ph@rappler.com. – Rappler.com 

1 comment

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  1. AM

    Jeepneys are and will forever be part of our culture. To cancel it by a phase out and “westernize” its design not only causes severe displacement of its patrons but kills a part of us. Another intended cause is to give undue benefits to foreign automotive manufacturers, particularly Chinese. Most of the carriages of the modernized “jeepneys” (if you can still call them that) are made in China – Forlan, Foton, because of their affordable price. All spare parts should then be periodically sourced abroad and at a price. Comparatively our local indigenous jeepneys can keep their jeepneys running forever using local and modified parts using generic basic tools, saving on maintenance and operating cost. Pollution control laws translate to cultural and economic control.

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Jene-Anne Pangue

Jene-Anne Pangue is a community and civic engagement specialist at MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm.