There is nothing progressive about a transportation program that will disadvantage poor drivers and commuters while favoring corporate takeover of the transport sector.

Duterte and Tugade’s “Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok” policy is a corrupt scheme to extort thousands of pesos from poor drivers in the guise of a “modernization” program. Jeepney drivers, who hardly earn a thousand a day, may face fines of up to P5,000 for a single violation. It is a thinly veiled attempt to force old jeepneys out of the streets and implement the jeepney phaseout program.

The Duterte regime is keen on getting rid of old jeepneys in favor of the expensive e-jeepney alternative, virtually allowing only big businessmen and corporations to operate in the transport sector. This is all part of the administration’s agenda of handing over public services to the private sector to ensure the profit of local oligarchs and foreign capitalists.

For the commuters, the jeepney phaseout spells additional burden. They are bound to suffer from incessant fare hikes brought by the privatization while transport facilities and services remain neglected just like what happened after the corporate takeover of the LRT and MRT.

The anti-poor Duterte government seems not contented in burdening the Filipino people with oil price hikes and impending fare increase due to the TRAIN Law. It is hell-bent on privatizing public transport and robbing drivers of their livelihood and commuters of an affordable mode of transportation.

For the record, Anakbayan is never opposed to an efficient mass transportation system that will solve the longstanding traffic crisis. However, such will never happen under the mercy of private corporations that are only after extracting profits from the riding public, and more so under a government which resolutely absolves itself of its role in providing vital public services.

Anakbayan stands firmly with the jeepney drivers and the wider commuting public in the fight against jeepney phaseout and corporatization of public transport. Duterte and his cohorts in the transportation department can only expect more and bigger protests led by the youth against his anti-poor regime. The youth will again walk out of their classes on February 23 and take to the streets to fight for the democratic rights of the Filipino people and thwart Duterte’s dictatorial rule. #


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