PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued an ultimatum to transport groups that he is resolved to proceed
with the controversial modernization of the country’s public utility jeepneys (PUJs), starting Jan. 1,
Criticized by militant PUJ operators and drivers but welcomed by environmentalists and health-
conscious Filipinos, the modernization program goes a long way toward addressing climate change.
In a well-applauded speech during a federalism summit and oath-taking of new PDP-Laban members
in Pili, Camarines Sur last Tuesday, President Duterte stressed that old engines are bad for the human
Old engines emit too much carbon dioxide, which is one of the principal reasons why global
warming continues to worsen, worrying the people and government authorities in the Philippines and
other parts of the world.
Aware of the alarming situation, Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to occupy the top political post
of the land, told the country’s PUJ operators and drivers to upgrade their jeepneys by the end of the
In fact, the hard-hitting Chief Executive from Davao City warned: “Sumunod kayo…(kasi) kapag
may makita ako diyang mga jeep na hindi narehistro, luma, guguyurin ko (ang mga) ’yan sa harap n’yo.”
At the same time, President Duterte slammed the recent two-day transport strike led by the
militant Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON).
During the two-day transport strike (October 17-18), Malacañang ordered the suspension of
work in government offices and classes in public and private schools across the country.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella explained that the Chief Executive suspended work in
government offices and classes in all schools out of concern for workers and students.
Various quarters said the national government’s public transport modernization program is a
good idea that deserves the support of the Filipino people considering the worsening of climate change.