PISTON urges franchise deferral

PISTON urges franchise deferral

A GROUP of jeepney drivers and operators mounted a protest in the House of Representatives on Thursday to call for the postponement of the deadline for mandatory franchise consolidation which they said would lead to jeepney phaseout.

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) staged a protest on the same day that the Makabayan bloc filed a House resolution calling for the deferral of the Dec. 31 deadline for franchise consolidation applications.

Partylist Reps. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, Arlene D. Brosas, and France L. Castro, in their resolution, urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to revoke the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines which mandated the consolidation of franchises of public utility vehicles (PUV).

“Given the economic issues that the franchise consolidation is causing amongst the PUV sector, it is only prudent to remove the deadline that the LTFRB has set,” according to a copy of the resolution.

PISTON said that the deadline is not just for franchise consolidation but for the operation of traditional jeepneys, citing that the policy excludes individual operators who cannot afford new franchise fees.

“The disregard for the rights of small operators to hold individual franchises is equivalent to a phaseout, impacting not only their vehicles but also their livelihoods,” said PISTON national president Mody Floranda in a statement in Filipino.

Transport groups called authorities to repeal the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) which effectively phases out traditional jeepneys in favor of new generation transport vehicles by yearend.

Another group, Manibela revealed last week that they are in discussions with PISTON and other transport groups for the mounting of a simultaneous nationwide transport strike before the end of the year. PISTON said it will release an announcement soon after discussions with Manibela. The two groups waged separate three-day strikes last month. — Jomel R. Paguian