Over a thousand public utility jeepney drivers and operators from all over the country gathered today in Manila for the National Transport Summit Against Jeepney Phaseout.
The summit led by the No To Jeepney Phaseout Coalition (NTJPC) aimed at building a nationwide unity among drivers, operators and commuters to oppose the recently implemented PUJ Phaseout Program of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
“Jeepney drivers and operators from all over the country gathered today to show the Aquino government that the transport sector is united in opposing their Jeepney Phaseout Program” NTJPC convenor and PISTON Partylist President George San Mateo said.
NTJPC claimed that the phaseout program, which was implemented last January 1 through a DOTC draft department order on PUJ Modernization, threatens the livelihood of more than 600,000 PUJ drivers and 250,000 operators nationwide.
“The phaseout program is not modernization but corporatization of PUJs all over the country. They want to steal the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of drivers and operators and give the whole PUJ operation in the country to big private corporations” San Mateo said.
The coalition also belied DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya’s claim that only a minority of drivers and operators are opposed to the phaseout program and that five prominent transport leaders have already agreed to the plan.
“The DOTC only managed to connive with five transport leaders but not their members. In fact drivers and operators from transport groups that these leaders represent have joined our coalition together with many independent transport federations and associations” San Mateo said.
San Mateo meanwhile lambasted Atty. Vigor Mendoza of 1-UTAK, Obet Martin of Pasang Masda, Efren de Luna of ACTO, Zeny Maranan of FEJODAP and Boy Vargas of ALTODAP, saying these leaders have betrayed their members by selling them out to big corporations for a few concessions.
“These leaders are like Judas! They sold their members to the government and big-private corporations for a few concessions and favors. They may have earned a few silver coins but have lost all their credibility as transport leaders. They may have become close to the government but are now detached from and disgusted by their members” San Mateo said.
Through the National Transport Summit Against Jeepney Phaseout, PUJ drivers and operators have united and resolved to hold a Nationwide Transport Protest against the phaseout program on April 18 and a NCR wide protest caravan to DOTC on April 4.
“We will show this government that majority jeepney drivers, operators and commuters are united and are resolved in opposing their attack against our livelihood. Our summit today was a success and we are prepared to hold bigger and bolder protests until this jeepney phaseout is absolutely junked” San Mateo said. ###
George San Mateo, Convenor – NO TO JEEPNEY PHASEOUT COALITION &National President – PISTON Partylist, 0932-547-6949