MANILA - Transport groups will stage a protest on Monday to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the government's public utility vehicle modernization program.
The groups Piston, No To Jeepney Phaseout Coalition, and Save Our Jeepneys Network will start the protest at 7 a.m. at the Quezon City Elliptical Circle, before marching to Mendiola.
Piston President George San Mateo slammed the government's PUV modernization program, saying that it is simply a scheme meant to put public transport in the hands of corporations.
"Hindi naman tayo tumututol sa pagsasaayos ng ating mga sasakyan. Ang ating tinututulan lang yung pamamaraan ng ating pamahalaan," San Mateo told DZMM Sunday.
He said the PUV modernization program is just a copy of what former Transport Secretaries Mar Roxas and Jun Abaya wanted to implement during the time of then President Benigno Aquino III.
"Kinopya lang po 'yan. Noong 2015 pa po 'yan. 'Yan ang gusto ipatupad ng gobyernong Aquino. Tapos napigil lang natin 'yan. Tayo po ay nangalampag nagprotesta," he said.
San Mateo said that instead of phasing out old jeepneys for the e-jeepneys, the government should just help small operators and drivers rehabilitate their units.
He said the e-jeepneys are too expensive for small jeepney operators. He said only big companies will benefit this program.
"Dini-dispute ko 'yung konsepto ng gobyerno na para sa kanila, pag ang sasakyan ay more than 15 years, ke okay pa 'yan, phase out na 'yan," he said.
"Sa Hong Kong nga e.... Sa Hong Kong po, 18,000 ang mga taxi doon. Ang mga taxi doon mga 1995 na Toyota Comfort. Hanggang ngayon bumibiyahe pa rin po," he added.
San Mateo said this PUV modernization program will affect not just operators but also commuters because this will result in higher fares.