ILOILO City – Militant transport group Piston-Panay joins the nationally-coordinated action of Piston National by holding a picket early this morning outside of Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to protest the impending phase out of public utility jeepneys (PUJ).
“The jeepney phaseout will affect 99% of PUJ drivers and operators nationwide, and an estimated 90% here in Region 6 Western Visayas,” Piston-Panay spokesperson Edgar Salarda said.
The phaseout is a plan of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to remove PUJs aging 15 years old from date of registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Voluntary phaseout has started this year while full implementation is set on 2018.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the “rationale behind the plan is the need for industry transformation to a low emission, efficient, and profitable PUJ industry.”
Industrialization is the key
But Piston-Panay asserts that government-subsidized railway system and government-supported PUJ industry through national industrialization is the key to the problem.
Salarda said that our country is at the receiving end of surplus spare parts from other countries hence the inefficiency of jeepneys. He called to the Philippine government to address the problem thru the development of a self-reliant PUJ industry.
“The DOTr must exert energy and effort on planning and developing an accessible and pro-commuter transport system, a railway system for example in the case of big cities,” he added.
The transport group also recommended to the DOTr and the government of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to develop a steel industry that can support, on a nationwide level, jeepney parts from metal bolt to machine.
On the issue of carbon emission, Salarda quipped it can be done by limiting the emission of several industrial plants present in the country, saying jeepney carbon emission is only a tad compared with industries like coal-fired power plants operating in the country.
National industrialization is one of the “meat” of the social and economic reforms undertaken by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) under peace negotiations that is set to resume this October 6-10 at Oslo, Norway./PT