Commuters asked: Which public official would you like to see riding public transpo?

December 21, 2023 - 2:44 PM
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Photo shows a jeepney and its passengers (Walter Bollozos/The Philippine STAR)

Which public official would commuters wish to see riding any mode of public transportation for a week this month?

Move As One Coalition has launched an online survey asking commuters about this query on December 14. The online poll was launched in line with the extended transport strike of traditional jeepney operators and drivers in the country.

The coalition reposted it on its Facebook account on December 20.

“Hi! Ilang tulog na lang ay Pasko na. We still have time to make a Christmas wish,” the post reads.

“Which public official would you like to see riding the bus, jeep, or train for one week this month?” it added.

The options in the survey are:

  • Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista
  • Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan
  • Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III
  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Romando Artes

The coalition said that the name of the official who ranked as the top answer would be called to take public transportation for a week.

“Share it with your friends, too. Then we can fill in the blank with his name: #AllIWantForChristmas is _____ taking public transportation for a week,” the post reads.

Transport groups Piston and Manibela have temporarily ceased their operations starting until December 22 in protest of the national government’s end-of-year deadline to consolidate their franchises into cooperatives.

READ: Piston-Manibela ‘joint transport strike’ to last until December 22

The consolidation process is the first step in the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), which has faced scrutiny since it was implemented.

Filipino commuters, meanwhile, previously called on high-ranking government officials to take up public transportation after refusing to acknowledge the transport crisis in the country.

Salvador Panelo, former presidential spokesperson, took the dare back in March 2021. Panelo rode a jeepney to get to a public market in San Juan City.

Some Filipinos, however, perceived his journey to be staged, citing its documentation in photos on social media.

READ: ‘Public stunt?’ Suspicion over Palace official’s commute, market visit 

Message to the president

On December 15, the coalition cautioned President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the consequences should the December 31 consolidation deadline of jeepney franchises pushes through.

“Kulang ang supply ng pampublikong transportasyon sa bansa. Mahaba at matagal ang mga pila sa terminal. Araw-araw na ala-sardinas na nakikipagsiksikan ang mga pasahero sa bus, jeep at tren,” the coalition’s statement read.

“Karamihan sa kanila’y nakatayo o kaya nama’y nakasabit, sa desperasyon na makasakay at hindi umabot nang lagpas tatlong oras ang komyut paalis at pauwi sa kanilang mga tahanan,” it added.

The organization made the following suggestions to Marcos to resolve the PUVMP problem:

  • Extend the consolidation deadline to another year.
  • Increase the supply of PUV units wherein buses and traditional jeepneys are prioritized.
  • The welfare of workers and commuters should be at the center of public transport reforms of the government.

Transport groups, joined by progressive groups and other concerned Filipinos, have held multiple transport strikes this year to protest the PUVMP requirement.

Transport advocate Reycel Hyacenth Nacario Bendaña, also a daughter of a jeepney driver, earlier voiced out that PUJ drivers and operators support the reform and modernization.

READ: ‘Modernisasyon, hindi phase-out’: The battlecry of jeepney drivers, operators

They, however, opposed the pending phase-out of their jeepney vehicles if they failed to form cooperatives on time.

RELATED: ‘Fair, equitable, and practical’: Vico Sotto shares view in support of PUV modernization