ILOILO City – The nationally coordinated protest action against jeepney phaseout has started today, June 5.
Led by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON), the nationwide protest action is geared to oppose the modernization program of the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
In Western Visayas, Negros and Panay islands are having a 2-day transport strike to register their opposition.
“There are more than 24,000 jeepney drivers and operators in Western Visayas that will be affected by the DoTr policy,” said Edgar Salarda of PISTON Panay.
He added that with the additional scrappage program, the entire jeepney transportation industry will be scrap.
Under the modernization program of the DoTr, jeepneys with more than 15 years of age will no longer be allowed to hit the road and will go directly to scrap shops.
Workers in shops giving services to jeepneys will eventually close down and will add their numbers to the growing population of unemployed citizens.
The 2-day transport strike in Western Visayas is headed by the No to PUV Phase Out Coalition.
Last February 27, the transport sector registered an almost 100% paralysis in transportation in Panay Island. This June 5-6 is the second time under Duterte administration that they will have a strike.
Strike centers are put up in Ungka and Tagbak terminals, UPV Diversion area below the flyover and outside the Iloilo Provincial Capitol in the city.
The centers opened midnight of June 4 and will close evening of June 6.
Several schools have already announced not to hold classes in consideration of the riding students, which Salarda claimed to be also affected by the phaseout.
“Once phase-out is implemented, a new corporation shall emerge, the fleet management system. Lucky drivers that will be hired will be employed as contractuals and will receive a daily P500 wage if and only if it reaches the quota of P3, 500. But given our P6.50 jeepney fare and in order to reach the quota, the fleet management will surely increase the fare of the riding public,” Salarda explained.
Salarda calls on the public to support the strike by going to their strike centers and have discussions with them or join them through in calling other riding public to support the strike by donating food, water or any material against the burning sun.
The transport strike is the highest mass protest action by our drivers in defending their rights for livelihood and decent living. (John Ian S. Alenciaga | panaytoday.net)