KARAPATAN supports jeepney drivers’ transport strike

KARAPATAN expresses its staunchest solidarity with the striking jeepney drivers and operators led by Piston who are airing their grievances ahead of the big gathering of workers’ groups on May 1, 2024.

Jeepney drivers and operators have been opposing the Marcos Jr. government’s jeepney phaseout scheme masquerading as a jeepney modernization program. Under this scheme, operators are compelled to form transport cooperatives and purchase expensive “modern jeepneys” imported from China. On top of this, they are required to consolidate their franchises, with only one franchise allowed per transport route. As the April 30 deadline for consolidation looms, thousands of jeepney operators who have not complied because of the scheme’s gross disadvantages face the loss of their livelihoods. The commuting public will also lose an affordable and accessible form of transport. Metro Manila, which has the most number of commuters, and unconsolidated jeepneys will face an even greater transport crisis.

Marcos Jr. hypocritically claims that he has the public interest in mind by pushing the jeepney phaseout. Nowhere is this hypocrisy more evident than in the “town hall meeting” called by Malacañang last April 10, 2024 attended by Marcos Jr., government bureaucrats, a conservative transport group and a private ride-hailing service. Organizations like Piston, Manibela and other transport advocacy and commuter groups were purposely left out. Such blatant marginalization of mass-based and public advocacy groups lies at the heart of Malacañang’s elitist and anti-people policies.

The Marcos Jr. regime must put a stop to the patently anti-poor and anti-Filipino jeepney phaseout scheme that spells disaster for the jeepney drivers’ sector and a large chunk of the commuting public. This scheme only benefits the foreign producers of “modern jeepneys” and the middlemen and corrupt bureaucrats whose pockets are lined with the kickbacks they have been raking in through unscrupulous deals.

KARAPATAN stands firmly behind the protesting jeepney drivers and operators in their struggle to defend their livelihoods and assert their democratic rights.