By Jaimie Rose Aberia
Transport groups No To Jeepney Phaseout Coalition (NTJPOC) and Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) announced today they will stage another two-day nationwide coordinated transport strike on December 4 to 5.
The strike, PISTON president George San Mateo said, is their answer to President
Duterte’s statement that he would order the towing of old and unregistered jeepneys starting January 1, 2018.
“Ang balak namin ay higitan ang transport strike namin noong Oct. 16 at 17. Kanselahin man nila muli o hindi [ang klase at trabaho] para mapaliit ang epekto ng strike, tagumpay pa rin kami dahil ang sukatan ng aming tagumpay ay ang partisipasyon ng mga kapwa driver at operator,” San Mateo said during the press conference held at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.
The main protest areas in Metro Manila, according to San Mateo, are Cubao, Alabang, Monumento and Novaliches.
San Mateo also said they won’t force other drivers to join the protest.
“Di namin sila ineengganyo na mang-away ng kapwa driver. Ang programa namin ay hikayatin sila na suportahan ang aming pagkilos alang-alang sa aming karapatan at kinabukasan,” he said.
In a statement released to the media, the groups claimed that the jeepney modernization program’s purpose is not rehabilitation, but business. Each e-jeepney, worth P1.4 to 1.8 million, costs the same as a sports utility vehicle (SUV), according to them.
“Hindi ito kayang bilhin ng mga maliliit na operator… Ibabaon nito sa utang ang halos 250,000 operators at 600,000 drivers,” the group’s statement said.
NTJPOC spokesperson Misael Melinas also said they won’t be stopped by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) earlier statement that it would cancel the franchise of those who joined the Oct. 16 to 17 strike.
“Banta lamang ‘yan para takutin kami na wag lumahok, pero tuloy ang laban,” he said.
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