Workers oppose utility vehicle express phaseout scheme

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Aquino government’s scheme to phaseout 13-year old utility vehicle express models next year, saying this will only benefit multinational carmakers and push drivers to unemployment.

KMU said the scheme, in which franchises of UV express models that were released in 1999 or earlier will not be renewed unless the vehicles are replaced with newer models, shows once again that the Aquino government does not care about the plight of the country’s poor.

“The Aquino government, once again, is following the dictates of big foreign capitalists – this time, the multinational carmakers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Big capitalists in the car industry want to reduce the number of unsold vehicles and increase profits at the expense of drivers and small operators. Faced with decreasing demand even in developed countries, big carmakers now want to make life difficult for poor drivers in the Philippines,” he said.

“The Aquino government does not seem to mind that many drivers will be left without work once this scheme is implemented. It has failed to provide decent work to drivers and is now driving drivers out of work with this scheme,” he added.

The labor center said the Aquino government is merely using public safety as an excuse to help big carmakers boost their profits.

“If the government really wants to promote public safety in relation to UV express vehicles, then it should improve the yearly checkup of these vehicles by the Land Transportation Office. It should rid the process of corruption so that vehicles’ road-worthyness is really evaluated,” Labog said.

“It should also ensure that the working conditions of drivers are improved. It should prevent oil prices from increasing unabated, elimitate ‘kotong,’ and improve the country’s roads,” he added.

KMU also expressed support for protest actions being held by PISTON Partylist nd the Alyansa Tutol sa UV-Express Year-Model Phase Out.

“It’s clear that the Aquino government will not on its own listen to drivers’ demands. We are calling on the country’s workers, UV express drivers, and the public to protest this onerous scheme,” Labog said.

“This scheme is part of the Aquino government’s barrage of policy measures that aim to increase payments being collected from Filipinos,” he added.

He cited premium hikes in the SSS and PhilHealth, the Sin Tax Bill, go signals for water and power rate hike, the scheduled toll fee hike, and privatization of public hospitals – all set to be implemented next year.

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