Drivers and operators of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) and multicabs in Davao City, along with commuters and supporters, recently launched the Dabawenyo Kontra Jeepney Phaseout Coalition to oppose the city government’s phaseout of the jeepney to be replaced by modern buses.
During the launching at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Compound, in Davao, the coalition aired their side on this issue.
IFI clarified they are not against modernization and development of public transport, but point out that the High-Priority Bus System (HPBS) is an “anti-people project” that will slowly burden Davaoeños with job losses, fare hikes, and tax increases, since the budget for the project will be loaned from the Asian Development Bank.
“The government only shows what is good about the HPBS [High-Priority Bus System]—they have air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. However, the truth is, the minimum fare will be set at 26 pesos, and the bus stop will be 400 meters apart from each, which will further inconvenience the commuters,” said Dodong Francisco, a jeepney driver and one of the conveners of the coalition
The transport group Transmission-Piston Davao pointed out that the PUJs and the Filcab are not the root cause of the worsening traffic condition in the city.
“Government data itself reveals that only 20 percent of the vehicles on the road are PUJs and Filcab. This just proves that they are not the root cause of the traffic crisis we are experiencing right now, and phasing out the PUJs and Filcab will not solve the problem,” said Larry Arguilles of Transmission-Piston Davao.
Earlier this year, the city government conducted a series of consultations with the drivers and operators. The latter raised their opposition to the phase-out and demanded better alternatives that will not affect their livelihood.
Data from transport groups said there are 7,000 PUJ and multicab drivers driving 3,100 units in the city.
The coalition also challenged the public of Davao to unite and take a stand against the ongoing jeepney phaseout in the city and the rest of the country.