‘Sino nakinabang?’ A jeepney driver states reasons behind dissent amid transport strike

November 21, 2023 - 4:57 PM
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Jeepney drivers hold a transport strike while commuters wait for available public transportation in Alabang, Muntinlupa on March 6, 2023 (The Philippine STAR/Ernie Penaredondo)

A jeepney driver perceived the shift to privately owned electric vehicles as the reason behind the push for the phase-out of traditional jeepneys.

Many jeepney drivers held a massive transport strike on Monday, November 20, as the deadline for the consolidation of jeepney units nears. This affected 13 routes in Metro Manila, thus causing stranded passengers in these areas.

A video of a jeepney driver, meanwhile, caught the attention of some Filipinos on the X app.

Here, the driver aired out his grievances over why they opposed the policies under the national government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), which has earned controversy since it was launched years ago.

“Kaya nating gumawa ng mga jeepney. Kahit saang lugar nga nakakagawa ng jeepney e, di ba? Tapos ngayon ang gusto nila, built-in. Sino nakinabang? Edi ang dayuhan,” the male driver said.

He further expressed his view that the consolidated jeepney drivers and operators will soon have no choice but to operate electric vehicles instead of the PUV units, citing the Clean Air Act of 1999.

“Mga susunod jan, yung mga electric na. Wala na yung mga gumagamit ng diesel,” the driver said.

“Kaya sa susunod na panahon siguro, dahil walang kakayahan ang mga operator sa ganyang….malamang na para sa mga bilyonaryo na, sa mayayaman na itong serbisyong publiko ng public utility vehicles,” he also said.

The video was uploaded by the youth organization Anakbayan Philippines. The man was interviewed at the Protest Center in Monumento, Caloocan City.

The looming December 31 deadline, meanwhile, is for the consolidation of single jeepney operators to form cooperatives with a larger fleet.

This process is part of the modernization program.

How concerned Filipinos reacted

Several Filipinos expressed empathy and support for the driver and the protest against PUVMP.

“Kita mo yon? Mas sharp pa ung sinasabe ng jeepney driver kaysa sa mga gobyerno’ng nasa mataas ng antas ng buhay. Nakailan beses na nangyare yan and iniisip paren nila? Gusto nyo lang na bigyan ng mabigat na utang ung mga jeepney drivers,” an X user said.

“Naiintindihan ‘yan ng mga drivers kaya nga tumututol sila sa gustong gawin ng government kasi alam nila na madedehado lang sila sa gustong gawin ng gobyerno. Ang government ang talagang hindi makaintindi kasi hindi nila makita yung struggles ng drivers,” another Filipino on X reacted.

Other Filipinos called on the government to fully subsidize the affected drivers and operators instead of putting them in debt.

“Gawin ang mga e-jeepney na yan sa Pilipinas. I-subsidized ng gobyerno ang training at equipment at dito gawin sa Pilipinas. I-subsidized din ng gobyerno ang pagbili sa kanila at ibigay ng libre sa mga jeepney driver,” an X user commented.

“Gusto nila bigyan ng utang yung mga rider para sa business nila. Pwede naman iparenovate nalang yung mga lumang jeep at bigyan ng orientation or training mga driver kaso business first sila,” another X user posted.

Several others, meanwhile, brought up the need to shift to a more sustainable type of vehicle.

“The world is constantly changing. Need na po natin mag-adapt. Nauuso na ang e vehicles na makakatulong din naman para mabawasan ang pollution and cost-effective naman ang pamasahe ng modern jeepneys ngayon. The gov’t should provide support to those affected by this dilemma,” an X user said.

Led by transport group Piston, the pause of its members’ operations will go on until Wednesday.

Transport group Manibela also announced a separate three-day protest against the PUVMP’s policies, starting on Wednesday.

Several transport groups and advocates rallied behind traditional jeepney drivers during their last transport strike last March.

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Through social media and on the streets, their clamor was PUV modernization and not the phase-out of the traditional jeepney units.

READ: ‘Modernisasyon, hindi phase-out’: The battlecry of jeepney drivers, operators ‘Fair, equitable, and practical’: Vico Sotto shares view in support of PUV modernization