• Lawmaker calls for House probe of govt plan to modernize jeepneys


    A LAWMAKER called on the committee on transportation of the House of Representatives to investigate a government plan to modernize jeepneys that caused a two-day nationwide strike.

    “This is ironic as it is tragic. Ang mga pobreng drayber at operator na nagpapahayag ng kanilang pagtutol sa pagtanggal sa kanilang trabaho at kabuhayan ay sasabihan na lang na magtiis at bahala kayo sa buhay nyo samantalang ang malalaking kumpanya ng kotse may subsidy,” Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement on Wednesday.

    (These poor drivers and operators are protesting the removal of their jobs and livelihood and what they are being told is to sacrifice while the big car companies have subsidy.)

    Zarate said that the modernization should be investigated, especially with the government’s P27 billion subsidy to Toyota and Mitsubishi to produce more private cars.

    Zarate said the government subsidizes Toyota and Mistubishi through the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), which would require them to produce a minimum of 200,000 units of a certain model they have committed to manufacture within six years.

    “What is worse is that, instead of subsidizing the rehabilitation and maintenance of current operating jeepneys, the government preferred to subsidize rich foreign automotive companies,” Zarate said.

    “This so-called PUV modernization program should be probed in earnest and all sectors to be affected should be heard. Threats, red-tagging and ultimatums cannot hide the fact that this scheme will result in massive livelihood displacement of poor drivers and small operators,” Zarate said. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA



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