Another nationwide transport strike was held on Monday, September 30 to protest the administration’s planned phase-out of old jeepneys and UV express units in the country.
Members of three major transport groups Stop and Go Coalition, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) held strikes on several parts of the country.
The first large-scale demonstration was held in 2017, the year when the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program was issued.
The modernizaton program seeks to provide “a restructured, modern, well-managed and environmentally sustainable transport sector” to drivers, operators and commuters.
The appearance of the new vehicles and their specifications were shared by the Department of Transportation on Facebook.
Hindi lang po kaligtasan ng mga pasahero ang tampok sa Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). Isang…
Resisting change: Why they’re protesting
The immediate consequences of the planned phaseout of jeepneys in 2020 were raised by concerned Filipinos online amid the nationwide transport strike against it.
Some Filipinos used the hashtags #NotoJeepneyphaseout and #Transportstrike on social media and made it trend on Twitter Philippines
The modern PUVs are worth at least P1 million.
Drivers and operators can avail of them by making a loan package through the Land Bank of the Philippines.
They were given a P80,000 subsidy to help them pay for this loan.
Some drivers and critics, however, worried that the amount of subsidy will not be enough for them to pay their debt on time and earn at the same time.
Higher fares and cost of maintenance
Aside from these expenses, some groups also aired the higher costs of maintenance for the advanced features of the new models which will then affect the fare prices.
The League of Filipino Students expressed this concern on social media.
“Kaya nananatiling mura ang pamasahe ay dahil sa low-maintenance ng mga jeepneys na hindi kailangang masyadong pag gastusan. Kapag pinalitan ito ng mga modernong sasakyan, mapipilitan ang mga driver na magmahal ng pamasahe na nagdadagdag pahirap sa mga commuter ng bansa,” part of the group’s post read.
Wala na raw jeep at UV express by July 2020. Stomoyon?
SUPORTAHAN ANG NATIONAL TRANSPORT STRIKE!
NO TO JEEPNEY PHASEOUT!
12AM – Tigil Pasada
4AM – Programa sa Petron, Philcoa pic.twitter.com/6CRGh45dbw
— LFS UPD #JoinLFS (@lfsupdiliman) September 29, 2019
The DOTR said the new PUVs will run on Euro IV engines, electricity or solar energy for sustainability. They will also be fully air-conditioned, with accessible WiFi and monitored with GPS and CCTV.
No more iconic design
The phaseout of old jeepneys also meant that the iconic Filipino vehicle, which had been recognized overseas, will no longer be on the road.
The local jeepney, so-called “Hari ng Daan,” had been notable as part of Filipino culture since the design was upcycled from leftover jeeps during the World War II.
Other users lamented this online.
“If we modernize it, start with the materials used in making one and fit it with a fuel efficient engine or even an electric one. The jeepney is an icon. The modernized jeeps look like buses,” one Twitter user said.
Left-leaning groups showed the locations where the demonstrations are being held.
Ang mga kabataan sa buong bansa ay nakikiisa sa ating mga jeepney driver sa isasagawang pagkilos bukas, Setyembre 30…
Following nationwide event, Malacañang remained unfazed and will still push through with the completion of the program in 2020.
“The Duterte administration will not be intimidated nor cowed by threats of protests and strikes coming from those who only think of their own parochial interest,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos