Senator Grace Poe on Monday said that the two-day nationwide transport strike should serve as a wake-up call to the Department of Transportation to hear the grievances of the jeepney drivers and operators.
“The two-day nationwide transport strike on October 16 and 17 should serve as a wake-up call to the Department of Transportation to listen to the jeepney drivers and operators, who have been airing their woes about the program,” Poe said in a statement.
Around 60 transport leaders in Metro Manila, and some in other parts of the country, announced a transport strike on October 16 to 17, to appeal to junk President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to phase out jeepneys through the ‘jeepney modernization program.’
The senator also expressed her support for the modernization of the mass transport system; however, she said that the program should not result in the displacement of the jeepney drivers.
Poe added that the plan should be implemented with “transparent consultations” of stakeholders and all concerned parties as “unilateral decisions will prove counter-productive.”
“We support the genuine modernization of our mass transport system, including our jeepney fleets. However, we stand firm that any program to be implemented must be the outcome of transparent consultations from a broad range of stakeholders and must be equitable to all parties concerned,” she said.
“Modernization should not result in the displacement of jeepney drivers, who often belong to the country’s poor,” the senator added.
Poe stressed that representatives from the land transport sector must be included in the consultations.
“We are hearing complaints that the public consultations have become a mere formality to satisfy the requirements of the law. Not all groups were consulted,” she said.
Poe added that operators and drivers have point in their sentiments that the phase-out of jeepneys “must be done gradually,” saying poor maintenance of units through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System should be also included in the guidelines.
“Kahit anong bago ng unit mo, kung hindi mo rin ime-maintain, maluluma din agad yan [Even if your unit is new, if you won’t be able to maintain it, it will immediately get old]. With the high costs involved, the PUV modernization program should be looking at sustainable modernized PUV fleets. Hindi pwedeng basta bago lang [It can’t be just new],” the lady senator said.
“Let’s aim for a win-win solution: one that will alleviate the traffic situation, help clean the environment and give productive income especially to the poor sectors of our society,” she added.
Due to this, Malacañang canceled government work and classes at all levels in both public and private schools nationwide on Monday, October 16.