Days before the President’s 5th State of the Nation Address, commuter, transportation, and labor groups urged President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the implementation of the widely-criticized public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, as the country continue to grapple with effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement signed by 25 groups and unions, they called on Duterte to halt the PUV modernization program and instead seek inputs from stakeholders for a more comprehensive plan for public transportation.
“We challenge the government to take the responsible route of modernizing transportation. We call on them to return jeepneys and buses to their previous routes with the necessary support to ensure health standards, and to protect the rights and tenure of transportation workers and commuters,” said Ed Laurentio of the National Land Transport Union.
While the groups recognize the importance of modernizing transportation, they called upon the administration to also consider the plight of drivers who will bear the brunt of the program.
“As drivers and commuters ourselves, we understand the transportation needs of people today and we, too, want better mobility systems,” said Alex Yague of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP).
“We can only achieve a sustainable and efficient transport sector through a just transition – one which includes all stakeholders in every step of the process, from the decision-making in modernization plans to the reaping of benefits,” Yague added.
Duterte is set to deliver his 5th SONA, where he is expected to discuss his coronavirus recovery plan for the Philippines.