Jeep drivers and operators troop to the Supreme Court

This article is available in Pilipino

Jeep drivers and operators under the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) picketed in front of the Supreme Court in Manila yesterday, April 23, to urge the high court to address the petition filed by the group against the forced consolidation of the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) franchise. They lament that the court is taking so long and is slow in addressing the petition which it should have responded to 10 days after it was filed. The petition was filed on December 20, 2023.

Drivers and operators called on the court to issue a temporary restraining order against Department Order (DO) 2017-011 or Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG), and other similar policies of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) which is pushing for forced franchise consolidation of PUVs. This scheme is part of the anti-poor and anti-driver PUV Modernization Program driven by the Marcos regime.

In its petition to the Court, they laid out that forced consolidation is contrary to their right to free association. “The constitutional guarantee of free association includes the freedom not to engage in an association,” the petition stated.

The government’s PUVMP forces operators to consolidate or give up their individual franchise to become a single franchise held by a cooperative or corporation. They also stated in the petition that no one has the right to force them to form or join any association.

“It’s been four months since we filed our petition in court to stop the PUVMP. The Supreme Court should not wait any longer for more small operators to be buried in debt because they have been forced to consolidate and undergo other unjust schemes of PUVMP,” Piston said.

The Marcos regime had said that there will be “no more extension” in the implementation of the jeepney phaseout because it is “extremely necessary” by the end of April. With its implementation, traditional jeepneys that have not consolidated will be banned from plying their routes.

“Every day closer to the deadline spells further fear among the poor drivers and operators. We hope the Court will understand this and not allow the DOTr and LTFRB to impose more time limits on our livelihood,” according to Piston.

AB: Jeep drivers and operators troop to the Supreme Court