‘Wala dapat maiiwan’: Jeepney driver daughter joins petition vs jeepney phaseout

December 22, 2023 - 7:02 PM
Drivers of traditional jeepneys wait for passengers at the FTI terminal in Taguig City on February 28, 2023. (STAR / Michael Varcas)

The daughter of a jeepney driver joined their fight once again, this time, in opposing the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Mae Diane Azores, who was also the bar topnotcher in 2019, expressed her position on the PUVMP controversy as a lawyer member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-National Capital Region Chapter (NUPL-NCR).

Transport groups are currently holding a transport strike to oppose the looming December 31 deadline for the consolidation of traditional jeepney franchises as part of the modernization program.

Jeepney drivers and operators who fail or refuse to comply with this requirement shall have their franchises revoked, thus their jeepney vehicles are phased out.

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In a post on December 20, Azores said that no one, including jeepney drivers, should be left behind in the move for progress.

“Anak ako ng isang jeepney driver at isang malaking karangalan na maging isa sa mga abogado na naglalayong maprotektahan ang kabuhayan at karapatan ng mga jeepney drivers at commuters. Sa pagnanais ng kaunlaran, wala dapat maiiwan,” she posted.

Azores also shared a post from NUPL-NCR Secretary-General Kristina Conti about the union’s statement on the PUVMP.

In the statement, the NUPL-NCR announced the filing of a petition against the implementation of the jeepney phase-out, citing the protection of around 140,000 drivers and operators nationwide.

“The NUPL-NCR is co-counsel in the petition for certiorari and prohibition with urgent application for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction against the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB),” part of it reads.

The union then expressed solidarity with the “drivers, operators, fathers and providers, and everyday heroes on the road.”

“Modernization of public transportation cannot be achieved with the purposeful marginalization of the petitioners who now seek the High Court’s protection of their rights to livelihood and association,” NUPL-NCR said.

Azores has also previously helped release six jeepney drivers who were arrested in Caloocan City for alleged quarantine violations in June 2020.

Touted as the “Piston 6,” the jeepney drivers staged a street rally to protest the national government’s standing suspension on jeepney operations despite the partial lifting of tough lockdowns at that time.

READ: Bar 2019 topnotcher offers help to free 6 detained jeepney drivers 

With the pandemic and lockdowns behind, jeepney drivers are once again facing another threat to their livelihood.

Several progressive groups also took to social media to call on commuters who take jeepney rides for support. They took to social media to launch their donation drives.