1-week-long Strike against PUVMP planned by jeepney, UV Express transport groups


The PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) and the possible suspension of jeepney franchises have been hot topics as of late, to say the least. Following the LTFRB’s statement that existing franchises will only be valid until June 30 and that operators and drivers must update their fleets to modern PUVs, an uproar was to be expected. Reports have been coming in that numerous transport groups are planning a week-long strike to oppose the modernization Program.

Transport groups oppose PUVMP and franchise non-renewal, to go on Strike for 1 week

Commonwealth Puv Stop Bus Lane Jeepney Lane Main 00 Min

Transport Group Manilbela made an announcement yesterday, February 27, that traditional jeepney and UV Express operators and drivers have plans to stage a week-long strike nationwide to oppose the implementation of the PUVMP. Citing the high costs of modernization, “trauma”, and the loss of the iconic jeepneys on the road are all factors that hinder them from purchasing the modern units.

“Sa pagsiil sa aming karapatan sa aming buhay, ang ipapantapat po namin dito, sa taning na binigay sa amin, sa taning na makapaghanapbuhay, isang linggong tigil pasada [In suppressing our rights, we will counter with a week-long transportation strike.] Our members are traumatized because of the announcement that they would only be allowed to operate until March or April,” said Mar Valbuena, chairman of the transport group Manibela.

Puvmp Transport Strike uv express Inline 01 Min

Valbuena later added that Cooperative members have to pay a monthly amortization of nearly PHP 500,000 for 10 to 15 modernized jeepneys, which are priced up to PHP 2.7 million each

“In the end, these expenses will also be shouldered by passengers because of the resulting fare increase. … We have larger jeepneys we call ‘patok‘, which cost P1.2 million to P1.4 million if air-conditioned. These are more durable and retain the jeepney’s iconic look,” the Manibela chairman later reiterated.

In response, LTFRB chief Teofilo Guadiz has remained in his and the government’s stand on the PUVMP and phasing out traditional jeepneys. According to Guadiz, only 60% percent of the target number of vehicles for modernization have complied while the rest continue to operate using traditional jeepneys.

“The LTFRB board is still in the process of outlining the program based on our studies. We have had three extensions already, and we are drafting another extension. Everybody is not yet on board. We do not want to leave anybody behind,” he said.

Ltfrb Modern Puv Overload Apprehension Main 00 Min

Photo: LTFRB

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista has also chimed in on the planned strike against the PUVMP. He has called for a sit-down between the government and transportation groups to iron out all the details of the PUVMP and discuss their positions and opinions on and against its implementation.

“I think it is important that there is a dialogue between the operators, LTFRB, and this time, we will have representatives from the DOTr,” Bautista said in an interview. He later reiterated that the phase-out will be rolled out in areas where the PUVMP has already been implemented. Areas, where there is an obvious difficulty in acquiring modern units, will have some reprieve until these problems are addressed.

Opinions will always be mixed when talking about the PUVMP. On one hand, modernized fleets will be better for commuters in terms of comfort and safety, while on the other, the cost of modernizing is just too high for operators and drivers to be able to afford. This split is what’s causing difficulties for all parties involved, and perhaps in the mind of transport groups, going on strike is their only way to be heard. Inevitably, if this does push through, this will be at the great expense of those reliant on public transport like jeepneys and UV Express.

We just hope that they and the government reach a consensus and an agreement before the scheduled March 6 transport strike.

What is your take on this whole issue? Are you for or against the PUVMP, and how do you think modernization can be effectively rolled out across the country in a way that is reasonable, affordable, and practical for all? Let us know your thoughts.

Mikko Juangco
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