Tell it to SunStar: Nationwide transport strike

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

On Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, Cebu operators and drivers rallied to the call of Piston and the No to PUV Phaseout Coalition for another transport strike. Strikers converged at the Andok’s Mabolo at the intersection of Cuenco Ave. and Juan Luna Ave. Ext., near SM City at 6 a.m.

With the issuance of the LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2023-051 last Dec. 14, the drivers, operators and their allies are more determined than ever to fight the consolidation-cum-modernization being foisted anew on the transport sector by the Marcos Jr. administration.

The new order, under the aegis of President Marcos Jr.’s instruction to fully implement the year-end deadline, has marked Jan. 1, 2024 as the initiation of the revocation of the registration and Provisional Authority (PA). The PA, which is temporary in nature, was used to replace the five-year franchise. This represents the virtual death sentence for the drivers and operators who continue to hold onto their individual franchises and jeepneys, and therefore hope to control their own livelihood. On Jan. 1, these “unconsolidated” operators can no longer ply their routes on pain of being apprehended for operating illegal motor vehicles and being a colorum jeepneys.

With the first day of the New Year, the “unconsolidated” operators and drivers lose their only means of livelihood, while the commuters are condemned to higher transport expenses, longer waiting time, and even an uncomfortable ride (e.g. riding and standing jam-packed in the modern jeepneys).

Using the classic “carrot and stick” approach, the government hopes to stampede the operators who are resisting the bogus PUV Modernization Program into joining the consolidation process in the hope that such will help them re-register and renew their PAs. Those who are willing to surrender their individual franchises and vehicles to the Transport Service Entities, i.e. the cooperatives and corporations, are offered the use of their traditional jeepneys for a few more months. But eventually, they have to comply with the purchase of the imported, import-dependent and expensive Euro 4 and electric vehicles. So it is a matter of being phased out by Jan. 1, or being phased out later with the burden of a huge bank debt. There is no known mechanism for the operator to withdraw his franchise and jeepney and capital from the bankrupt cooperative.

The responsibility for this fiasco is squarely on the shoulders of President Marcos Jr. , who is more disposed to traveling abroad to invite foreign investors to take advantage of the Philippines, rather than attending to the concrete needs, the livelihood and welfare of the Filipino people.


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