Is the PUV modernization fair, equal or equitable?

Government’s public-utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, as launched recently, is allegedly welcomed by commuters and by most transport groups, provided all relevant laws are enforced strictly and its objectives of making vehicles “safer, more convenient, more comfortable and environment-friendly” are laudable, BUT that’s just one perspective.

Good intentions are there, but equipment change will not necessarily change the system, and ROAD HABITS. And for the commuter, most of us may not realize that the government is PASSING THE COST OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO US.

A one-size-fits-all solution can’t lift everyone up. That’s equality, and equality does not always elicit true fairness. We need to put in the extra work and give everyone what they need and consider their unique circumstances to achieve a true WIN-WIN SOLUTION.

Equal treatment is actually not fair, for this erases our differences and promotes privilege. With last week’s strike, it only means that not everyone’s needs are met and some may not even be fully aware of the situation (Government passing the cost to commuters!).

And in social media, sad to say, but almost everyone fails to acknowledge their own privilege while being insensitive to other affected parties’ plight and circumstances.

Based on the image, our current situation is our “reality”. The PUV-modernization/ tries to provide everyone with the same resources and supports to overcome a barrier or reach a threshold (Equality - a fair, same starting point). So, what can we do?

Increase Subsidy

What I can see in the PUV modernization that needs to be tweaked is the subsidy – it needs to be increased to at least make it equitable. The calculations are one sided and does not address the hidden costs (fuel/electricity, maintenance, loan payments, insurance ..etc.), the burden is too much for the drivers (e-Jeepney prices = SUVs).

The government can address this by turning it into a bond investment (10-year T-bill with 3-5% interest perhaps?) which helps keep e-jeep costs down.

Equity - provides individuals with the resources and supports they need to overcome barriers or reach a threshold. This is only fair when there are enough resources to go around.

But it still lacks a lot of incentives. I tried to wrack my brain with additional solutions but it gets more complicated and more headache. So… why not..

Scrap the whole thing and keep it simple

This is Liberation – which represents the removal of (Systemic) barriers or imposed thresholds that cause disadvantage rather than provision of resources, supports for everyone.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT SHOULD BE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSIBILTY, I mean look at other countries. Our regulators are passing the cost to the drivers and commuters, what a farce! Start-up a GOCC and nationalize public transport. Heck, consider PPP if we really can't afford it. This way, the government is in a better position to help change/regulate the whole transport system itself.

The drivers can get proper compensation, health benefits via Philhealth, SSS/GSIS, Pag-ibig. Public safety is increased as government can dictate the proper (re)training as well as scrapping the franchising system that causes a lot of disorder in the roads. Time saved on the road will be billions as workforce productivity is recovered over time.

“He who seeks equity, must do equity.” – Joseph Story


Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last October 24, 2017.

Is the PUV modernization fair, equal or equitable? Is the PUV modernization fair, equal or equitable? Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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