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Thursday, June 13, 2024

PUVMP threatens to put 600K jeepney drivers out of jobs—ECOP

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On May 1, 2024, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) laments the plight of jeepney drivers affected by the jeepney phase-out, citing some 600,000 drivers who are bound to lose their livelihood, as the government pushes for the soonest implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“Disappointment is an understatement. It’s obvious that many sectors see the phase-out part of the program as not beneficial to jeepney drivers and to the commuting public. And how about these areas that cannot be serviced by buses? How can people travel to work, to school?” said ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr.

He noted that the government should assist local assemblers and jeepney manufacturers to produce sustainable jeepneys and other types of vehicles similar to the jeepney, instead of bringing over imported private utility vehicles.

ECOP and other business and labor groups unanimously called on the government to review the PUVMP and build local capacity for jeepney assembly and manufacturing.

“The government can still push for the E-jeepney and review the modernization plan. If they remove the franchise system, what will take its place, especially in the provinces? Some routes cannot be filled-up with buses, not even mini-buses,” Ortiz-Luis said.

He added that the government does not even have a token to commend millions of workers on Labor Day.

Meanwhile, the Confederation said that while some quarters continue to lobby for legislated wage hikes, Filipino employers are not in a good position to welcome any wage increases at the moment.

Inflation is a big factor when deciding for wage increase, ECOP said. Headline inflation or overall inflation increased to 3.7 percent in March 2024 from 3.4 percent in February 2024, bringing the national average from January to March 2024 at 3.3 percent.

“The Philippine wage rate is now the highest in Southeast Asia. We’re even higher than Malaysia and now, they mulling another wage hike. With the recent updates, I think not a single person in the Cabinet would agree to the legislated wage increase,” Ortiz-Luis said.

In celebration of Labor Day, the Confederation said it remains committed to continue engaging in policymaking processes through the scheme of tripartism in order to ensure a sound policy environment conducive to investment and employment generation.

“ECOP has always been and will always be a staunch partner of our workers in ensuring that their welfare and wellness are prioritized above all else and that no one is left behind as we altogether navigate the many transitions in this ever-changing world of work,” said the group in a statement.

It vows to also maintain its bipartite relations with the workers at all levels to ensure that the dialogue mechanism enables concrete policy actions and program interventions.

“We will continue to advocate for ‘responsible employers, sustainable business, and inclusive workplace’ ultimately for the benefit of the Philippine labor force,” the group said.


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