We just experienced another ‘massive protest’ that made the government call off work schedules in public office including public schools. Accusations have been hurled left and right using one over the other of unfairness. On the government side they accused the protesting jeepney groups of not being open to progress and providing the riding public with better transportation service. The protesting transport group, on the other hand, held accusations against the government for being insensitive to their situation and that the government’s effort may cause catastrophic and irreparable damage to their personal economy.
Who is right?
Both groups are right and this is not a safe answer that I am offering. Instead of providing insights on what to place between a two groups I am offering a solution so that both parties will be serving the interest of the republic.
The government will not be successful in forcing the jeepney transport groups to instantly ditch their reliable jeepneys. What the government could have done is to explain each and every level of this new transition that they want the operators in the drivers to understand.
If the government did its homework, then they would understand what the popular clamor is when it comes to changing the way they understand how transportation serves the public.
For instance the government is forcing the operators and drivers to sell there jeepneys at scrap metal price. That is almost like saying the government does not care what you think of the main assets that helped your family live through economic strife. Filipinos are generally sentimental and if somebody tells you to put something in the trash without any regard to something you value for so long your life then why would you even give me attention they deserve? A lot of these jeepneys are heirlooms and the government should have been more careful in the way they talked to each and every driver who they plan to sell their ideas to.
The price of the jeepney replacement is also an issue because it is more than what a driver or an operator could afford to pay the monthly mortgage for a said vehicle.
What the government could have done is to involve legitimate operators holding franchises of the LTFRB for payment plans or loans that can make it easier for drivers and operators to pay off. You can just do the math and imagine the meager net income of a driver or an operator would be much less than the expected monthly payment if the vehicle should be paid within 3 or 5 years time.
And then there is the problem of maintenance. Since this is a new type of vehicle we can say that it does not need maintenance however vehicles still need regular check up especially when they are brand new. In hindsight how much would be the investment of the drivers and operators when they purchase these Euro4 or electronic vehicles?
Lastly is the implementation. The operators in the drivers should have been given enough time to transition to the new vehicles because everything that i have discussed above could have been turned into a program that operators and drivers can immerse themselves into so that by the end of the terms that the government set everybody will be well educated and ready to try the new vehicles that the government is offering.
Sadly the whole discussion has limited to those who will get money and to those who are against progress. I really believe that such a big move could have been more successful if enough time was given and that all stakeholders were heard so that anything that the government want to change will receive the support of not just those who are involved in this business but also the commuters who will suffer or benefit the most from this transportation program led by the department of transportation.
Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with the modernization project but there is always something to be improved in the execution of this project.