PISTON announces 3-day 'tigil-pasada' a month ahead of PUV consolidation deadline

Progressive transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide announced a nationwide three-day transport strike a month ahead of the December 31 deadline for PUV consolidation deadline.

PISTON leaders set the upcoming strike starting November 20 after being announced at a press conference held at the Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City on Wednesday.

"The December 31, 2023 deadline will automatically take away the livelihood of drivers and operators," said Piston President Mody Floranda in Filipino.

"In the provisions that they have released, they said that we could still consolidate within six months. 12 months to 27 months. But the ultimate goal is to phaseout public transportation."


Drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys and UV Express units need to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations before the deadline. Those who fail to do so to will be ordered to stop their operations under the PUV modernization program.

This is in response to the forthcoming phaseout of traditional jeepneys, aligning with the government's initiative to transition towards modern minibuses that are considered more "environmentally friendly".

PISTON argued that modern jeepneys are overly costly, potentially burdening operators with significant debt, citing unit costs reaching up to P2.8 million each.

A transport leader who spoke before the press conference shared how a Metro Manila route started with 100 mini buses during the PUV modernization's pilot implementation. Only 20 units are said to be remaining due to problems that arose. 

"This isn't being done to fix public transportation, but to easily transfer... to big businessmen and corporations the routes and livelihood of small operators," Floranda added in a statement.

"We encourage all drivers and operators in the whole country to join in the strike to fight for our livelihood and rights. Enough is enough. Welga na!"

PISTON's demands
Besides the immediate repealing of the current PUV modernization program, PISTON released a list of demands prior to their planned strike:

Scrap the franchise consolidation requirement and allow those who previously complied to withdraw their individual franchises.
Restore the five-year franchises for all PUVs and all modified PUV routes
Provide immediate cash aid and reasonable financial support for all affected PUV drivers and small operators.
Uphold the right to freedom of association and respect the right to strike.
Implement a "pro-people" just transition in public transport modernization anchored on a program of local and national industrialization instead of overly relying on imported vehicles.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for their part will convene today to "to discuss how the impending transport strike will impact the transport sector and the riding public."

"The LTFRB leadership vows to coordinate with other government agencies and the local government units on ways to provide free rides to the public should the strike pushes through," said LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialago to members of the media.

Not against modernization
The militant group clarified that they are not against modernization but are pushing for a transition that is more just and humane.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier promised to review the highly controversial modernization program for public utility vehicles.

Over 120,000 jeepney units went on a tigil-pasada last October under the leadership of transport group MANIBELA while protesting the said deadline and alleged corruption within the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

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