By DEE AYROSO
Piston said most of the country’s jeepney drivers and operators are fine with upgrading and rehabilitating the jeepneys, but not in the total scrapping of it as advocated by the Transportation department.
“Through standards only a few foreign corporations could comply to, and through selling vehicles only they could manufacture, jeepney operators are subjected to the monopoly of these corporations, and they would be mired in debt.”
They are also asking instead for government subsidy to allow Filipino jeepney assemblers to modernize the jeepney.
Citing folly of LRT-MRT corporate control, drivers, operators want modernization but not thru DOTC’s way
The government-dictated phase out cum modernization program would result in killing of local operators and manufacturers, joblessness for current jeepney drivers, the takeover of big corporations and consequently, higher fares, warned the protesters.
Since the Arroyo regime expanded the value-added tax on oil and since the implementation of the oil-deregulation law, most jeepney drivers have to work long hours, often up to 14 hours a day. If they don’t, whatever money they earn for the day will only further enrich the oil companies — and they go home penniless. Think about this the next time you are tempted to curse jeepney drivers for being uncouth, discourteous and undisciplined, as the government is wont to depict them.
Steep increases in fines and penalties, imposed by the Arroyo regime to make up for its chronic revenue shortfalls, are hitting jeepney drivers particularly hard. As if that were not enough, buwayas (crododiles) masquerading as traffic enforcers in colorful uniforms lurk in the streets, waiting to pounce on them at every turn.