Relentless protest against PUV phaseout, set for January
Jeepney drivers and operators will continue to protest and mount mass actions against the forced franchise consolidation and the implementation of the sham Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) starting in 2024. This is their response to the refusal of Ferdinand Marcos Jr to heed the demands of drivers and operators. According to the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), Marcos’ inaction proves his regime is “incompetent, a burden, and a puppet”.
In December 2023, Piston and Samahang Manibela Mananakay and Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela) demonstrated their opposition to the PUVMP in a series of transport strikes and widespread protests across the country, mainly in Metro Manila. It is estimated that around 4,000 people participated in the protest of the two groups in Mendiola in Manila on December 29, 2023. Drivers drove more than 330 jeepneys to the protest. Drivers and operators of Starter-Piston and Manibela from Southern Tagalog participated in the protest in Manila.
In other parts of the country, united drivers and operators also joined mass actions and camps against the massacre of their livelihood. In Bacolod City, up to 2,000 people participated in the protest march and transport strike in the city on December 29, 2023. They marched to the municipal hall to demand accountability from the local government for implementing the PUV phaseout.
In Davao City, Transmission-Piston held a transport strike on December 27, 2023. It is estimated that the group paralyzed 70% of all jeepney routes in the city. In Cebu City, members of Piston-Cebu camped at the office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Region 7 on December 28 to December 29, 2023. In Iloilo City, drivers and operators held a transport strike and camped at the LTFRB Region 6 office on December 27 to December 28, 2023.
Piston believes that only by strengthening their forces and continuous collective action this 2024 will they be able to resist the regime’s PUVMP plan that will massacre their livelihood.
Meanwhile, on December 28, 2023, the Supreme Court ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB to comment on the petition filed by Piston against the implementation of the forced consolidation of the franchise and PUVMP. The two agencies were given up to 10 days to comment.