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PISTON Claims Paralyzing 90% of Jeepney Routes Nationwide

PISTON Claims Paralyzing 90% of Jeepney Routes Nationwide

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) on Monday claimed paralyzing 90 percent of jeepney routes nationwide during the first of the two-day transport strike against the government’s proposed public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

During a protest staged along Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, PISTON national president George San Mateo claimed early success on the first day, saying the transport strike paralyzed 90 percent of jeepney routes in the entire country based on a partial PISTON field report of transport paralysis.

Based on PISTON’s partial report, the transport strike was able to paralyze transportation in the areas of Metro Manila by: 100 percent in Makati and Paranaque; 97 percent in CAMANAVA; 95 percent in Ramon Magsaysay; 90 percent in Novaliches, Zapote, Anda Circle routes, Litex route, Marikina and Manila; and 80 percent in Cubao.

Meanwhile, the transport paralysis in other regions was estimated at: 100 percent in Butuan City, Cavite, Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya; 98 percent in Pampanga; 95 percent in Laguna, Davao, Rizal and Albay; 90 percent in Camarines Sur; 80 percent in Masbate; 75 percent in Baguio; 60 percent in Surigao City; and 50 percent in Cebu City.

San Mateo, in a separate statement, warned against the possible consequences of the jeepney modernization program to the public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers, operators, and commuters.

“The phase-out scheme will displace over a million Filipinos in the PUJ industry, drivers, operators and other PUJ based informal workers. No small operator and driver can come up with over 30 million pesos required capital to purchase new units and apply for a franchise,” said San Mateo.

“It would also burden our commuters with minimum fares rising up to 20 pesos and deregulated fare hikes through the Ayala owned Beep Automated Fare Collection System. It will also cause gross inconvenience to commuters due to profit-oriented route rationalization scheme,” he added.

The Department of Finance reported that the program would cost PHP417 billion for the next five years, including the PHP8 billion subsidy for the purchase of PUVs and PHP3.9 billion for the Office of Transport Cooperatives.

Under the PUV modernization program, jeepney units that are 15 years old will be replaced with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs. These will also be equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi.