Over 100 PUJs join transport caravan in Iloilo

Anakbayan Panay Island Photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor and Jennifer P. Rendon

At least 100 operators and drivers of traditional jeepneys mobilized a caravan in Iloilo City on Monday, April 15, in support of the two-day nationwide strike of several transport groups.

The caravan, organized by the No to PUV Phaseout Coalition and PISTON in Panay, is protesting the April 30 deadline for individual jeepneys to consolidate into a cooperative.

The caravan traveled from Metropolis Jaro to Sambag, Jaro, then proceeded to Diversion Road towards Infante Flyover before heading to the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds for a program.

“Ang mga matarung nga magagmay nga kooperatiba nagapahayag man nga indi guid nila masarangan ang pilit nga pagpautang sa ila sang imported mini bus sa idalum sang peke kag palpak nga PUVMP,” the coalition said in a statement.

[Small cooperatives are saying that they cannot afford the forced loaning of imported mini-buses Under the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.]

According to the DOTr, modern jeepneys cost between P1.4 million and P3 million, depending on the unit. Some lawmakers argue that transport cooperatives need up to P7,000 per day to repay their loans and for drivers to earn enough for their families.

“Ang compulsory consolidation nagakahulugan man sang lubos nga pagpatuman sang Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) nga nagatalana sang lubos nga pagkadula sang traditional PUJ sa aton mga dalanon. Nga-a ginapilit guid ini ipatuman sang aton gobyerno?,” the coalition added.

[The compulsory consolidation also means the complete implementation of LPTRP, which brings an impending phaseout of traditional PUJs from our roads. Why is our government insisting on its implementation?” the coalition added.

Under the government’s PUV modernization program, jeepney operators must relinquish their individual franchises and join a cooperative or corporation by April 30, or they will no longer be able to operate their routes.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has recently confirmed that the April 30 jeepney consolidation deadline is final.

It could be recalled that the April 30 deadline was extended by Marcos last January, from its original deadline of January 31.

December 2023 data from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Region 6 (LTFRB-6) showed that the region has a total of 8,534 traditional PUJs, of which 5,778 are consolidated.

Iloilo province leads in the number of consolidated traditional PUJs with 1,911, followed by Iloilo City with 1,692.

No transport strike paralysis 

Brigadier General Jack Wanky, chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6), said their local police offices and other law enforcement agencies were on full alert status during the strike.

He emphasized that the mobilization did not disrupt public transportation.

“They have monitored that some jeepneys will join, but it’s only minimal, especially in our Panay area. Based on our intelligence reports, we have fewer than 50 members that will join the transport caravan,” he said in a press conference on Monday.

“It is noteworthy that they are not mustering a big number, and the important thing is that they cannot disrupt the normal flow of our public conveyance,” he added.

The PRO-6 chief added that they have prepared vehicles to be deployed on thoroughfares that have stranded passengers.

Meanwhile, the transport groups said they may hold a transport strike alongside a protest camp in front of the LTFRB-6 on the April 30 deadline of the PUV consolidation.


Had it not been for tarpaulins hung on traditional jeepneys and placards carried by cause-oriented groups, the nationwide transport strike was not felt in the city and province of Iloilo.

Instead of joining the transport strike, traditional jeepneys have opted to do a caravan in support of the national initiative for a two-day transport holiday.

“Passenger turnout was low on Monday, but plenty of units were running,” said Rizal Alido, president of the Western Visayas Alliance of Transport Cooperative and Corporation Inc. (WVATCCI).

Alido had previously noted that the transport strike led by groups like Manibela and Piston was expected, but none of WVATCCI’s members ceased operations.

“Their strike has no impact here. In Iloilo, our transport groups are already consolidated into cooperatives,” Alido explained.

In the city, 87 percent of transport franchises have joined the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, with 95 percent participation in the province.

“We have more than enough units. In fact, the number of consolidated units outnumbers those awarded,” he stated, expressing confidence that the April 30 deadline for PUV consolidation will be met. “There might be a memorandum for extensions in other areas, but I think in Iloilo, it will proceed.”

Police reported that the “No to PUV Phaseout Coalition-Panay” commenced their protest caravan at 7:30 a.m., starting from Metropolis in Jaro district and moving to the Iloilo Provincial Capitol at Bonifacio Drive, joined by members of Gabriela.

Should a transport holiday occur, police and local governments have vehicles on standby for free rides.