The threat made by the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) that it will hold a transport strike today is part of yellow transport leader Efren de Luna’s sellout of jeepney drivers and operators and the public on the issue of jeepney phaseout.
First of all, his threat of a transport strike was anchored on a demand for a mere dialogue with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on the Aquino government’s plan to phase out jeepneys from the roads of Metro Manila and the country starting in January 2016. The LTFRB granted his grand request for a dialogue and so he stopped his “transport strike” concentrated in the FTI-Taguig area.
De Luna is explicit in saying that all he wants is that jeepney drivers and operators be given time to prepare and loans to buy electronic jeepneys. He is after all among yellow transport leaders who held “dialogues” with the Department of Transportation and Communications in which they presented their proposals for a “jeepney modernization program” and gave their thumbs up to the jeepney phaseout scheme.
This afternoon’s “dialogue” will not halt the scheme nor will it improve the condition of jeepney drivers and operators.
Through his threat of a transport strike, De Luna wants to make it appear that he is against the jeepney phaseout scheme in the eyes of ACTO’s disgruntled members and leaders and the public. He also wants to increase the funds that he will get from the government for his approval of the scheme and as one of the suppliers of the electronic jeepneys. He is out to sabotage the campaign of jeepney drivers and operators and the public to junk the jeepney phaseout scheme.
We say “No!” to the jeepney phaseout scheme. It will result in the loss of livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers and operators making a living out of the 300,000 jeepney units in the country. It will subject a portion of jeepney drivers to exploitative conditions under the so-called fleet management scheme. It will definitely result in higher fares for passengers who will shoulder the cost of new vehicles.
The jeepney phaseout scheme is not modernization, but corporatization and monopolization of an important sector of the country’s transportation system. The jeepneys’ contribution to air pollution in the country is being addressed by the drivers and operators themselves and is negligible compared to the main causes of air pollution in the country.