Piston Cebu steps up call against Dec. 31 PUV consolidation deadline

RESISTANCE. Local transport group Piston Cebu amplifies call for a nationwide resistance on the mandatory franchise consolidation requirement for the PUV Modernization Program / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
RESISTANCE. Local transport group Piston Cebu amplifies call for a nationwide resistance on the mandatory franchise consolidation requirement for the PUV Modernization Program / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

THE transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) Cebu chapter has intensified the call for nationwide resistance against the impending Dec. 31, 2023 consolidation deadline for public utility vehicles (PUVs) under the national government’s PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Early Thursday afternoon, Dec. 28, Piston Cebu established a help desk in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 office in Cebu City to address inquiries from PUV operators who are “confused” about the consolidation requirement of the PUVMP.

The help desk aims to prevent public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers from being “coerced” into the consolidation process that could lead to the eventual phaseout of traditional PUJs, the group said.

Modernization program

The PUVMP, according to the LTFRB is an “extensive system” reform that will completely transform the public land transportation industry in the country. The PUVMP features a regulatory reform and new guidelines for granting franchises for road-based public transportation services.

The consolidation is among the major components of the PUVMP. It would be realized “through the formation of transport cooperatives or other legal entities which will be entitled to subsidies and access to credit facilities.”

The consolidation deadline has undergone multiple postponements, shifting from the original December 2021 date to subsequent dates such as June 2022, March 2023, June 2023, and finally Dec. 31, 2023.

Criticism

In a press statement, Piston Cebu president Greg Perez criticized the Marcos Jr. administration for allegedly being “hell-bent” on removing unconsolidated jeepneys from the streets.

“While launching a media blitz that claims more Filipinos have been lifted from poverty, and that more have joined the ranks of the employed, the stark reality is that the government has made more lives miserable,” he said.

“Yanking drivers and operators from jeepneys that have provided them with a steady job and their families with a sure yet unsteady income will only worsen the situation of the lower classes,” he added.

Piston Cebu and its allies have also announced further measures as part of a nationwide initiative to oppose the phaseout plan implemented by the Marcos Jr. Administration through its transport sector agencies.

In a chat message on Thursday, Jaime Paglinawan, Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) chairperson, said they were planning to set up camp outside LTFRB 7 Thursday night until Friday, Dec. 29.

“If the event proceeds tonight, then tomorrow (Friday), the members of Piston-Cebu will head back to the Protest Center in Cebu and return to LTFRB 7,” Paglinawan said, Thursday. / with WBS

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