Filipino jeepney drivers protest against phase-out plans for old vehicles

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Hundreds of drivers of the Philippines’ ubiquitous public transport vehicle, the jeepney, representatives from various private transport organisations and operators joined protests in Manila and other Philippine cities on July 17 against the government’s phase-out plans of jeepneys with engines older than 15 years, saying an upgrade of their units would be too much of a financial burden for many operators.

Protesters want President Rodrigo Duterte to hear their plight and cancel the implementation of the jeepney phase-out programme, officially called “public utility vehicle modernisation programme,” which aims at replacing jeepneys with more fuel-efficient units, namely such with Euro 4-compliant engines, or substitute old vehicles with new electric jeepneys.

Transport ministry officials refuse to call it “phase out” of jeepneys, saying the Traffic Crisis Act of 2016 calls for the replacement of more than 15-year-old jeepneys which account for the majority of the 180,000 running jeepneys in the country.

But affected transport groups argue that the modernization programme would eventually wipe-out the entire jeepney industry because all jeeps will reach 15 years of age at one point, and investing in them will be impractical if they have to be shelved every 15 years. They also point out that the phase-out plan would affect the livelihood of more than 600,000 drivers nationwide.

To assist jeepney operators, the Philippine government has approved a $45 million subsidy until next year for loans to acquire 28,000 new jeepney units. However, jeepney operators say despite the loan subsidy, vehicle replacements would still result in substantial debts for them and called for other forms of support, such as the establishment of a purpose-bound rehabilitation trust.

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Hundreds of drivers of the Philippines' ubiquitous public transport vehicle, the jeepney, representatives from various private transport organisations and operators joined protests in Manila and other Philippine cities on July 17 against the government’s phase-out plans of jeepneys with engines older than 15 years, saying an upgrade of their units would be too much of a financial burden for many operators. Protesters want President Rodrigo Duterte to hear their plight and cancel the implementation of the jeepney phase-out programme, officially called "public utility vehicle modernisation programme," which aims at replacing jeepneys with more fuel-efficient units, namely such with Euro 4-compliant...

Reading Time: 1 minute

Hundreds of drivers of the Philippines’ ubiquitous public transport vehicle, the jeepney, representatives from various private transport organisations and operators joined protests in Manila and other Philippine cities on July 17 against the government’s phase-out plans of jeepneys with engines older than 15 years, saying an upgrade of their units would be too much of a financial burden for many operators.

Protesters want President Rodrigo Duterte to hear their plight and cancel the implementation of the jeepney phase-out programme, officially called “public utility vehicle modernisation programme,” which aims at replacing jeepneys with more fuel-efficient units, namely such with Euro 4-compliant engines, or substitute old vehicles with new electric jeepneys.

Transport ministry officials refuse to call it “phase out” of jeepneys, saying the Traffic Crisis Act of 2016 calls for the replacement of more than 15-year-old jeepneys which account for the majority of the 180,000 running jeepneys in the country.

But affected transport groups argue that the modernization programme would eventually wipe-out the entire jeepney industry because all jeeps will reach 15 years of age at one point, and investing in them will be impractical if they have to be shelved every 15 years. They also point out that the phase-out plan would affect the livelihood of more than 600,000 drivers nationwide.

To assist jeepney operators, the Philippine government has approved a $45 million subsidy until next year for loans to acquire 28,000 new jeepney units. However, jeepney operators say despite the loan subsidy, vehicle replacements would still result in substantial debts for them and called for other forms of support, such as the establishment of a purpose-bound rehabilitation trust.

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