Featured image above is a Philippine jeepney ubiquitous in the country’s streets ferrying commuters to their destinations. The stripped down image on Pixabay snapped by Beth MacDonald seems to mirror what could be an existential threat to public utility jeepneys (PUJs) through the long-gestating PUVMP of the government.
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MAHARLIKA VILLAGE, Taguig City, November 19, 2023 — Amidst the threat of a 3-day strike of jeepneys starting Monday, November 20, the City Government here is ready, if need be, to provide free rides to the commuting public.
The Taguig local government unit (LGU) headed by Mayor Maria Laarni “Lani” L. Cayetano made this announcement on the eve of the transport strike.
“Nakahanda ang pamahalaang lungsod kung kakailanganing magbigay Ng libreng sakay sa mga ruta na maaapektuhan ng tigil-pasada sa Nobyembre 20-22, 2023,” the City Government said in Pilipino in a message sent to members of the media.
(Translation: The City Government is ready to provide free rides in the routes to be affected by the threats of a three-day transport strike on November 20-22, 2023.)
The transport strike is being readied by PISTON, or the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide, a group comprised of jeepney operators and drivers. It has a members across the country, a have been involved in many transport strikes in the past. Never mind the, apparently, the welfare of the commuting public sa long as they get their wish.
PISTON fights many battles through strikes — stopping jeepney operation for days — everytime they perceive government moves that threaten their livelihood.
For the looming strike from Monday to Wednesday, their protest is triggered by the “approaching deadline for the consolidation of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) on December 31.” (source: Inquirer.net)
Mody Floranda, PISTON national president, has said that their group is not satisfied with the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG).
Their demand to kill the franchise consolidation part of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) as well as the suspension of the whole program were not granted by the government.
PISTON was afraid the consolidation component would lead to the “monopoly” big fleets or individual operators.
It can be recalled the Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched the PUVMP aimed at transforming the Philippines’ public transportation system efficient and environmentally friendly come 2020. It’s now 2023.
The City Government said anyone who may have questions to raise, or those who may need assistance, just call the Command Center through this phone (02)-8789-3200.