PISTON urges drivers to defy ban on jeepneys

The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) called on jeepney drivers and operators to continue plying their routes in defiance of the government’s deadline on franchise consolidation.

On the first day of the New Year and prohibition of operation of unconsolidated jeepneys, the transport group urged fellow transport workers to claim their right to livelihood for their families and commuters.

“Public transportation is a public service that should serve the people and not the few. Let is claim our right to the roads. Let us hold accountable the incompetent, oppressive and puppet [Ferdinand] Marcos Jr. regime accountable,” PISTON said in a New Year statement.

Several jeepneys were seen still plying their routes along Commonwealth Avenue and Pasig City poblacion in the morning of 20024’s first working day Tuesday, January 2.

Traffic had been light and passenger numbers have sparse on both locations, Kodao observed.

PISTON warned that a public transport disaster would befall major cities once commuters start returning to their jobs or schools.

Transport authorities on the other hand sought to downplay the effects of the banning of traditional jeepneys on the roads saying they are open to extending permits as long as operators commit to surrendering their individual franchises to transport cooperatives or corporations.

PISTON said the government Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) is only aimed at handing over their livelihood to local and foreign capitalists.

The group added the PUVMP will result in higher fares for commuters and lower incomes for drivers and operators who will likewise incur huge debts.

New vehicles approved under the program cost around P2.5 million. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

PISTON to SC: Expedite petition to suspend jeepney consolidation deadline

Militant drivers and operators urged the Supreme Court to expedite the decision on their petition for a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the year-end jeepney franchise consolidation deadline.

In a supplemental motion, the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) said the suspension of the deadline shall prevent the “grave and irreparable injury” the jeepney drivers and operators, their families, the commuters and the public in general will likely suffer at the start of the new year.

“[M]illions of drivers, operators and their families, as well as commuters all over the country will experience a severe impact on their income and livelihood should the franchise of thousands of PUV operators be cancelled on January 1, 2024,” PISTON added.

The group filed the initial petition before Christmas against the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) that orders the surrender of individual franchises to cooperatives and corporations by December 31.

PISTON argues the consolidation scheme only aims to take away the livelihood of jeepney owners and operators in favor of corporations and big businessmen.

“Hundreds of thousands of citizens are affected, will lose their livelihoods, will be buried in debt or will have serious problems with additional expenses,” PISTON national president Mody Floranda said.

Bayan Muna and NUPL lawyers filed last Thursday an Extremely Urgent Motion at the Supreme Court on the petition of PISTON and commuters for a restraining order against PUV consolidation and cancellation of franchise. (Bayan Muna photo)

PISTON likewise warned that so-called modern jeepneys will increase basic fares to around P40-P50 once the PUVMP goes into full effect.

“No matter how you look at it, this bogus modernization brings nothing good to the people,” Floranda said.

In a statement Thursday, December 28, however, the Supreme Court declined to immediately issue a decision to PISTON’s original petition and instead  ordered the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) to reply within 10 days.

DoTr secretary Jaime Bautista meanwhile claimed that “majority” of jeepney operators support the program with 70% already participating in the process.

The December 31 franchise consolidation deadline stays, Bautista declared.

PISTON however belied Bautista’s claims, citing an Inclusive Cities Advocacy Network study saying 73% of Metro Manila’s traditional jeepneys will be disqualified from modernization.

Floranda also criticized LTFRB’s announcement it will give out temporary permits to jeepney operators on some routes after January 1 if they commit to have their franchise consolidated.

“That proposal is just a stopgap measure. Eventually, those who bought temporary permits will also be affected by the phase out. This proves that the whole program is a failure,” Floranda said.

PISTON and fellow transport organization Manibela are set to stage a rally at Malacanang today, Friday, following a solidarity lunch at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.

(PISTON infographic)

The groups said the impending transport crisis is ultimately President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s fault for his refusal to suspend the PUVMP.

PISTON also announced the success of Thursday’s transport strike in Davao City that paralyzed some routes in Mindanao’s main metropolis. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ang mga nagmamadaling patayin ang dyip

“Ang nagmamadaling patayin ang jeepney ay ‘di kahit kailan nakasakay ng jeep. Keber niya sa mga taong ito ang kabuhayan?”— Bibeth Orteza (actor, writer, artist)

Image by Jo Maois Mamangun

Jeepney strike paralyzes major Metro routes

PISTON says Marcos misleads public with 70% consolidation claim

Striking jeepney drivers and small operators declared a 90% paralysis of major routes in the National Capital Region on the first day of their to-day protest action against the abolition of their livelihood.

Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) also said 85% of several regions outside of the capital have also been paralyzed, forcing Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III to hold a dialogue with their leaders.

“We found out [from Guadiz] it is Bongbong Marcos who is pushing for consolidation of jeepney franchises on December 31. Now we know who to blame,” PISTON said in a statement.

The group also said President Marcos blatantly misled the public when he said that 70% of all jeepney franchises have already been consolidated under the government’s Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“Let their data speak for itself. There are 64,639 unconsolidated units nationwide, 30,862 of which are PUJs (public utility jeepneys) and 4,852 UV (utility vehicle) Express units in NCR,” PISTON said.

“This amounts to an estimated 60,000 PUJ drivers and 9,000 UV Express drivers; 25,000 PUJ operators; and 4,000 UV Express operators in NCR alone,” the group added.

Commuters along Commonwealth Avenue waiting for rides. (PISTON photo)

PISTON said Marcos’ decision to ban jeepneys and other forms of public transportation such as UV Express vans would result in a transport crisis starting January 1, 2024.

Major areas of Metro Manila saw a marked decrease in the number of plying public utility vehicles on the road on Thursday.

PISTON said their strike affected routes from Commonwealth in Quezon City in the north, Pasig in the east, Manila in the west, to Alabang in Muntinlupa in the south of the metropolis.

Longer commuter queue at the Pasig Central Market area. (PISTON photo)

Local government units and the Metro Manila Development Authority fielded hundred of buses throughout the metropolis, even as they sought to downplay the effect of the strike.


Meanwhile, various groups expressed solidarity with the strikers such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Concerned Seafarers of the Philippines, Rural Women’s Advocates, and even the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).

“ICHRP supports the call of drivers and operators to junk the PUVMP, and instead push for a genuinely pro-people modernization program, by supporting the development of the local jeepney manufacturing industry,” ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy in a statement said.

Various groups also joined PISTON members in their overnight vigil in front of the LTFRB headquarters in Quezon City Thursday night. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Opposing jeepney abolition

“I declare my solidarity with the jeepney drivers. Ownership of their vehicles gives them dignity and selfworth. I also think that the jeepney is a part of our culture. So let us oppose its abolition!”—Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB (nun, educator, activist)

Image by Jo Maois Mamangun

Forced franchise consolidation will distress thousands of drivers and strand millions of commuters

by IBON Foundation

Bongbong Marcos Jr’s refusal to extend the deadline for franchise consolidation reveals how callous his administration is to ordinary Filipinos – the livelihoods of tens of thousands of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators will be disrupted and millions of people will have an even harder time commuting. The abrupt banning of so many jeepneys portends forced modernization and drastic fare hikes. Millions of Filipinos will be affected and not just a “minority,” contrary to Marcos Jr’s claims.

Under the mandatory franchise consolidation, instead of individual franchises, only one cooperative or corporation will be issued a franchise to ply a single route. Traditional jeepney and utility van express (UVE) vehicles not consolidated into a cooperative or corporation will no longer be allowed to operate. This means hundreds of thousands of drivers and operators nationwide and their families will lose their livelihoods.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) estimates that 71,395 public utility jeepneys (PUJ) and UVE units nationwide have not been consolidated, consisting of 64,639 PUJs (43% of total PUJs) and 6,756 UVE units (35% of UVE units). This could mean around 140,000 drivers and operators who cannot afford to consolidate or, with their families, over half a million Filipinos economically displaced in the new year. This does not even include thousands of drivers and operators already consolidated in cooperatives who are in debt and struggling to make a living.

With only 57% of PUJs and 65% of UVEs nationwide consolidated, millions of commuters will have to deal with longer lines, longer waiting times, and more crowded rides from the start of the new year. Commuting time is also not guaranteed to be shorter, as the government has been inefficient in planning the new routes. The mass transport crisis will worsen due to the limited number of consolidated PUVs and the lack of a clear government program to deal with the huge gap after the forced consolidation deadline.

The consolidation rate in the National Capital Region, which has the biggest and most concentrated population in the country, is even lower than the national average at only 26% of PUJs (10,973) and 34% of UVEs (2,497) consolidated. There are an estimated nine million jeepney passengers daily in Metro Manila alone and the lack of consolidated PUJs will leave many of them stranded.

The Marcos Jr administration is indifferent to the plight of PUV drivers, operators and commuters and instead is more concerned with private sector interests that will benefit the most from the forced consolidation. The worsening privatization and corporatization threatens to raise jeepney fares by 300-400% over the next few years.

As it is, Manny Pangilinan-backed modern PUJ operator Byahe will be investing more than Php1.5 billion on more than 500 e-vehicles to ply 35 routes mostly in Metro Manila and Cebu by 2027. The Aranetas through their Beep Jeeps and the Villars through their MetroExpress Connect also have investments in modern jeepneys.

As the consolidation deadline fast approaches, it is important to support the impending transport strike, to not only stand with the PUV drivers and operators and their families in the fight for their livelihoods but to also demand a genuinely sustainable and pro-people public mass transport system.

PISTON to stage another strike vs jeepney phase out

The country’s largest federation of drivers and operators announced another transport strike against the planned phase out of traditional jeepneys.

The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) said it will stage another transport strike on December 14 and 15 against the December 31 Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) deadline for franchise consolidation.

The new strike follows the three-day strike the group staged starting November 20 that paralyzed major routes in Metro Manila and key regions throughout the country.

PISTON president Mody Florande said the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) have yet to deliver on their earlier promise to “carefully study” their demand for the scrapping of the forced consolidation of jeepney franchises.

A key component of the 10-point Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Plan (PUVMP), franchise consolidation mandates all operators to surrender their individual franchises to a cooperative or corporation serving a specific route.

PISTON said the government’s mandatory consolidation scheme only leads to the “corporate capture” of public transport in the Philippines as only corporations and rich cooperatives can afford the imposed standards.

The scheme the LTFRB dubbed “One route, one franchise, one operator” is expected to affect 80% of all operators nationwide while tens of thousands of drivers may be driven out of their livelihood on the very last day of the year, the transport group said.

“Is this DoTr and LTFRB’s Christmast gift to us, the loss of livelihood of thousands of driver and operators” Floranda asked in a press conference last Monday, December 3, announcing their strike.

“They should be ashamed. They will be forcing many families into hunger once the new year starts,” he said.

PISTON infographic

PISTON said that only about 26% of PUV operators in the National Capital Region have agreed to surrender their franchise for consolidation since the PUVMP was implemented in 2018, indicating its unpopularity.

If the December 31 deadline pushes through, PISTON said more than 33 thousand jeepneys would already be disallowed to ply their routes starting January 1, 2024.

The group added that 64 thousand drivers and 25 thousand operators would be jobless.

PISTON infographic

“If the deadline is imposed, it clearly would bring about a transport crisis in the country,” PISTON warned.

“What is stopping (LTFRB chairperson Teofilo) Guadiz (from heeding calls to scrap the program}? He only has to issue one memorandum circular and the deadline would be scrapped,” Florande asked.

At the press conference, the transport leader asked for understanding from commuters as their strike only aims to ensure they would have still jeepneys to ride in on January 1. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Tuloy ang welga: PISTON rejects ‘further study’ of jeepney phase-out scheme

Striking public transport drivers and operators rejected government promises to further study their demands to stop the phase-out of traditional jeepneys and announced the continuation of their scheduled three-day strike.

In a statement, the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) said government representatives offered only promises that do not address their fears of losing their livelihood.

PISTON president Mody Floranda said Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III only told them the agency will further “study” their demand to withdraw their December 31 deadline against independently-operated  traditional jeepneys.

Floranda added that Guadiz had the same response to their additional demand of scrapping the franchise consolidation schemes under public transport cooperatives as well as the replacement of the iconic Filipino jeepneys.

“Puro paasa. Hindi na mahinitay ng mga kumakalam na sikmura ng mga tsuper at operator ang ‘pag-aaral’ ng LTFRB,” Floranda said. (They just want to bring our hopes up again. But the empty stomachs of drivers and operators could no longer wait for their so-called studies.)

In a statement, Department of Transportation secretary Jaime Bautista said the December 31 deadline is not for the replacement of traditional jeepneys but on the consolidation of franchises.

Denying there is a government phase-out program on the jeepneys, Bautista added that roadworthy jeepneys may continue to operate next year.

Bautista also said that there are cheaper vehicles that operators may buy through loans from government banks .

Floranda however said the government attempts to pacify striking jeepney drivers do not address their demands but an effort to make it appear they are concerned about the public welfare.

PISTON has accused the franchise consolidation program as a scheme to take away jeepney franchises from small and independent operators and concentrate them under transport cooperatives controlled by businesspersons.

Members of transport group Manibela joined in Monday’s transport strike in Metro Manila and key regions around the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Strike immobilizes jeepney routes in Metro Manila, regional centers nationwide

The ongoing jeepney strike immobilized jeepney routes in Metro Manila and several regions nationwide by as much as 100 percent, the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) reported.

Despite threats of punishment by the government, the nationwide protest action against the phaseout of the iconic jeepney failed to deter drivers and small operators who also trooped to Mendiola in Manila to protest the government’s controversial modernization program of public utility vehicles.

PISTON said Cubao-San Juan,Cubao-Divisoria, Malolos (Bulacan)-San Fernando (Pampanga), Jollibee Molino, Alabang-Zapote, Marcos-Alvarez, Sangandaan-Pajo-Divisoria, and the Zobel Roxas- Paco jeepney routes have been 100% paralyzed starting 7AM.

The group added that Cubao-Quiapo, Kalaw-Proj. 2&3, Navotas-Divisoria-Recto-Monumento-Malabon,Pateros-Pasig, Paliparan-Zapote, Bagong Silangan (Quezon City) and Sta. Rosa in Laguna is also completely paralyzed.

Dozens of other routes in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and several cities in the Visayas have also participated in the strike, mostly by PISTON members.

Few jeepneys are seen plying their routes in major routes around Metro Manila such as Commonwealth Avenue, C5, and Rizal Province.

The Department of Transportation earlier warned the strikers that they will face both administrative and criminal sanctions, including the revocation of their license.

Transport group Manibela initiated the protest by announcing last week a five-day transport strike that PISTON decided to support.

Both Manibela and PISTON are demanding President Ferdinand Marcos’ Jr.’s revocation of DoTr’s public transport modernization guidelines mandating small operators to surrender their franchises to cooperatives and big businesses.

In a bid to prevent today’s transport strike, the DoTr has moved the deadline of the phaseout from June 31 to December 31, to no avail.

PISTON national president Mody Floranda earlier explained that the transport strike is their only way of being heard by the government.

Floranda said that while they are not opposing the modernization of the country’s public transport system, it should not come at the expense of the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers and small operators.

The ongoing strike is the largest since the start of the pandemic in 2020. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

PISTON announces support of transport strike next week

A major national federation expressed support for the week-long transport strike next week announced by drivers’ group Manibela starting Monday, March 6.

The Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) said it is ready to back the strike against the phase out of public utility vehicles (PUV) like jeepneys and the compulsory transport franchise consolidation by the government.

“Pinakikita lamang nito na handang makipaglaban ang iba’t ibang samahan para pigilan ang sapilitang franchise consolidation at PUV phaseout na patuloy na itinutulak ng gobyerno. Handang protektahan ng mga tsuper at maliliit na operator ang kanilang kabuhayan dahil buhay ng pamilya nila ang nakasalalay rito lalo sa panahon ngayon ng matinding krisis sa ekonomiya,” PISTON national president Mody Floranda said.

(This shows that several organizations are willing to fight to stop the forced consolidation and PUV phaseout being pushed by the government. Drivers and small operators are ready to defend their livelihood especially in this very hard up times.)

PISTON ready to back planned transport strike against PUV phaseout, compulsory franchise consolidation

PISTON explained that mandating operators to consolidate their individual franchises under a cooperative or corporation is “wrong, deceitful, and coercive” as it deprives operators of their rights and privileges as individual franchise holders.

It added that only big corporations with single consolidated franchises have the financial capacity to purchase and fully comply with the current PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) schemes.

“Kapag nag-consolidate ka ng prangkisa sa ilalim ng isang kooperatiba o korporasyon, sinusurender mo yung karapatan mo sa indibidwal mong prangkisa. Sa oras na di ka makabayad sa napakamahal na halaga ng modernization, wala ka nang babalikan dahil pinilit kang isuko ang prangkisa mo,” explained Floranda.

(If a small operator agrees to a consolidation under a cooperative or corporation, he gives up his single-ownership franchise. If it turns out that he could not afford to pay the very expsensive modernization schemes, he could no longer go back to his livelihood.)

The transport leader added that the lost franchises shall then be sold by the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board to large corporations who can afford the imported mini-buses the government wants to ply the roads.

In response to the transport strike announced on Monday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that the department is “giving enough ample time to transport groups to muster enough funds to buy new units” in order to comply with the government’s PUV modernization program.

PISTON said DOTr’s statement is a clear admission that their imported “modern” mini-busses are indeed unaffordable to small operators and drivers.

PISTON said the government must first implement a just transition program by supporting local manufacturers and allowing the rehabilitation and overhauling of traditional jeepneys to carry cleaner and environmentally sound engines.

It added that this will not only save small-time operators money, it can also further develop our local industries and create more domestic jobs.

“Bakit ba kating-kati ang gobyerno ni Marcos Jr na mag-import nang mag-import para palitan ang mga lokal nating jeepney at paglaruan ang buhay ng maralitang Pilipino? Sino ba talaga ang gusto nilang paunlarin? Malinaw na hindi ang mga Pilipino,” Floranda said.

(Why is the government so adamant about the importation of new vehicles to replace our local jeepneys? They are playing with the lives of poor Filipinos. Who are they trying to enrich? It is clearly not the Filipinos.)

Meanwhile, Manibela president Mar Valbuena shot down suggestions of a dialogue between his group, the DOTR and other transport groups opposed to the transport strike.

In a radio interview, Valbuena said the DOTr must first shut up its “dogs” in the transport industry who first benefitted in the modernization scheme by cornering new transport routes and benefitting from government loan programs to buy new vehicles.

In supporting transport strike, Floranda told Kodao that PISTON will join Manibela rallies wherever they will be held.

He added that PISTON is still in the process of determining which of its chapters nationwide would be able to hold transport strikes in support of Manibela. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)