People's Domain

Ph jeepney drivers decry state discrimination in filed petition 

The traditional jeepney drivers in the Philippines has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to question the continued suspension of traditional Public Utility Jeepneys’ (PUJ) operations under the guise of safety measures during the pandemic.

The petition was filed September 29 by members and officials of the National Confederation of Transportworkers Union (NCTU) who expressed that they were quite fed up with the state’s inconsistent standards and issuances regarding public transportation.

“With this action, hopefully the Dept. of Transporation (DOTr) will realize the truth. Their decision left jeepney drivers behind. Many are going hungry; many are affected,” said NCTU members during the case filing.

The petitioners asserted that the government’s disallowance of PUJ’s operation in the previous months has no basis under the law or constitution.  

Many drivers claimed that the LTFRB denied them permission to operate even though they have fully complied with the safety protocols. Meanwhile, other Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) were allowed to go back on the road when the quarantine was eased.

“The state showed an obvious preference  to modernized jeepneys even though no substantial distinction exists between them and traditional jeepneys,” Atty. Gena Myrtle Terre, one of the legal counsels of the case, added.

The petition argues that the state has violated the Constitution and its international obligations when it failed to uphold the drivers’ right to work and right to experience an adequate standard of living.  

It also seeks to question the IATF-EID, DOTr and LTFRB’s authority to unilaterally and indefinitely suspend public transportation. 

The petition comes in after six months of drivers’ unheeded calls to get back on the road.

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* Featured photo was lifted from the news “Balik Pasada Ligtas” as posted at https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/multimedia/photo/09/29/20/nctu-calls-for-balik-pasadang-ligtas

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