CLARK FREEPORT – The new vehicles being off ered by the government under its plan to permanently junk at least 250,000 jeepneys nationwide would eventually cost not only P1.6 million, but P2 million each arising from amortization interests.
The plan will affect not only drivers and their families, but also workers, students and other folk who would then have to contend with fare hikes.
This warning was aired recently by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao who urged the commuting public to oppose the “sham” public utility vehicle (PUV).
“The PUV modernization is a ‘fake’ program, as its mission is plainly to phaseout jeepneys so big foreign firms could snatch big chunks in the mass transport market share, displacing many small drivers, mechanics, and small entrepreneurs, while their profits are being secured via imposing of fare hikes on commuters,” Casilao said in a press statement.
He called for “a more comprehensive rehabilitation program for jeepneys, instead of phaseout.”
“Totally relying on finished vehicle products by foreign firms is insensitive, undemocratic and unsustainable. Using these costly vehicles will transform the supposed public transport into a private, profit-raking sector,” he said.
He said “any ordinary motorists know the disadvantages of relying on vehicles that are export- dependent.”
“This is on top of the impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law on petroleum products’ prices that are also accelerating the bankruptcy of the small drivers and commuting public,” he added.
“Amid TRAIN and a ‘modern’ PUV, the commuting public faces multiple burden under the recent measures of the Duterte government,” he lamented.
Casilao also decried the “Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok” campaign of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) led by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as “nothing but a façade to jeepney phaseout.”
“The DOTr, through the land transportation agencies continues to demonize transport groups like Piston, who is a staunch opposition and champion of the welfare of small drivers and commuting public,” he said.
Casilao said Piston “has repeatedly exposed the government’s connivance with big business groups turning the supposed modernization into cash cow.”
“Based on the estimate of DOTr, a single unit of modern jeepney will cost around P1.6 million and could balloon to as much as P2 million due to interest rates,” he noted.
Casilao also supported Piston’s demand for a P6-discount per liter for diesel consumption, to enable them to cope with the impact of the TRAIN law-induced oil price hikes, and to rehabilitate jeepney units.
“The underlying thought on the issue of jeepney phaseout is that the Duterte government has no resolve to establish a national industry to support the mass transport in the country,” he also said.