SOME cities announced a suspension of classes on Monday because of a nationwide transport strike over the government’s plan to modernize public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Piston and No To Jeepney Phaseout Coalition will spearhead the protest.
The Makati City government declared the suspension of classes in public schools and left it to the discretion of private schools whether to hold classes or not.
“Classes in all levels in public schools are suspended on October 16, 2017, Monday, due to the nationwide transport strike. Upon the request of the private schools, we are withdrawing our initial declaration concerning the private schools and will leave it to the discretion of their respective school officials,” the city government said in an advisory.
Davao City also announced the suspension of classes from kindergarten to college and said that it respected the transport strike.
“The City Government of Davao will deploy buses to assist passengers. Let us all take this opportunity to observe the streets with less jeepneys and more buses as envisioned in the High Priority Bus system project for the
Dabawenyos,” Mayor Sara Duterte said in an advisory.
The transport strike is in response to the government’s PUV modernization program, which involves a planned phaseout of public utility jeepneys and for drivers and operators to purchase a minimum of 10 “brand-new” units at over P1.6 million each to be operated under a fleet management scheme run by big transport companies.
Under the plan to be implemented in January 2018, fares will be collected through the “Beep Card” automated collection system owned and operated by the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium which, according to Piston, has a “monopoly control” over the train systems Metro Rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 and 2.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said there would be no more individual jeepney operators upon full implementation of the program.
The planned phaseout will kill the livelihood of over 600,000 drivers and operators nationwide, according to Piston.
Another transport group, Stop & Go Transport Coalition, held a strike on September 24, describing the modernization program as “anti-poor.”