AGHAM’s statement of support for PISTON’s 2-day #NoToJeepneyPhaseout transport strike

After failing in its obligation to provide mass transport utilities, the government is now trying to foist the deceptive PUV Modernization Program and Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) which does not address the issue of transportation that is accessible, safe, and affordable for all. We support PISTON’s strike to protest this plan as it is not the solution to our country’s problem on mass transportation.

Immediate alternatives

Without a clear plan for a mass transport solution for urban centers and rural areas, the government should instead support and subsidize the informal public transport alternatives like the jeepneys which has taken up the slack. The government should not burden the small drivers and operators with expensive alternatives and financing schemes and should instead replace their vehicles with minimal or no-cost to them.

Such a “palit-jeep” program will directly benefit drivers and small operators, and the commuting public as a whole. It will also make the rehabilitation and uptake of new technologies faster instead of putting the burden to the already impoverished jeepney drivers.

The government should make available maintenance and repair shops to upgrade current vehicles while new replacements are brought in. Instead of forcing them to enter into the fleet management systems making them vulnerable to corporate capture, government should make it optional for single driver and operators.

Long-term solutions

Decades of state abandonment in building a mass transport system for the country have led to the emergence of an informal public transport system which includes jeepneys tricycles, taxis, motorcycles and even TNVS such as Uber and Grab. These informal modes of transport has been the one providing transportation services for most of our riding public. Government’s decades of conflicting roadmaps and policies on developing mass transport, coupled with treacherous  privatization schemes of the existing systems (e.g. MRT/LRT) have resulted to the situation that we are in.

A mass transportation system is crucial in a setting up a dynamic and industrial economy as it serves multiple linkages in the economy. As a public utility, the government has the obligation to provide efficient and affordable transport services to the people as it facilitates daily activities and supports economic production. It is urgent that the government sees itself as the main provider of transport services and have a comprehensive transportation plan that includes roles for the informal public transport sector.#


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