November 16, 2023
MANILA – The transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) on Wednesday announced a three-day nationwide strike starting Monday, November 20, to protest the approaching deadline for the consolidation of traditional public utility jeepneys on December 31.
Piston national president Mody Floranda said that the group is unsatisfied with the recent proposed amendments to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines.
The changes, Floranda stressed, did not meet their demand to abolish the franchise consolidation component of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) and to suspend the entire program.
Piston added that the franchise consolidation scheme may result in a “monopoly of a few big fleet managers or corporations” who have the power to control PUV routes.
“Itong franchise consolidation ang unang hakbang sa pang-aagaw sa kabuhayan ng mga tsuper at operator,” Floranda said.
(This franchise consolidation is the first step in seizing the livelihood of drivers and operators.)
“Hindi talaga ito para ayusin ang public transport, kundi para madaling maipasa at maagaw ng mga malalaking negosyante at korporasyon ang mga ruta at kabuhayan ng mga maliliit na operator,” she added.
(This is not meant to fix public transportation but so that big businesses and corporations can easily grab the routes and livelihoods of small operators.)
Meanwhile, in a message sent to reporters by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, it said that the Department of Transportation “remains firm” with the December 31 deadline of the consolidation for utility jeepneys.
The LTFRB also said that there are still 120,023 PUV units that have yet to be modernized, including public utility buses (PUBs).
Meanwhile, as of November 15, there are a total of 129,568 consolidated units of PUJs, UV Express, minibuses, and PUBs, which represent 65.03 percent of all authorized units.
“The remaining 34.97% consists of 69,665 individuals franchise holders,” said LTFRB.