After calling its second day of strike “successful,” transport group Piston on Tuesday warned of a longer protest if President Rodrigo Duterte does not talk to them and hear their pleas along with other groups condemning the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
“Kung kinakailangan ngang gawing isang linggo, gagawin namin ‘wag lang nilang ituloy ang phaseout [We will go on strike for one week if the government proceeds with the plan],”Antonio Simangan, Jr., president of the Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston-Cubao), told The Manila Times.
“Si Presidente, matigas ‘yan, pero ayaw niyan sa welga. Sinabihan niya kami noong July na magwelga muna kami. Ngayon nasa kanya na ang bola at hihintayin namin ‘yung pagdinig niya sa amin [The President, he is tough, but he does not like strikes. He told us in July to go on strike. Now the ball is in his court and we will wait for him to hear us out]” George San Mateo, Piston president, also told The Manila Times.
“We, jeepney drivers, operators and commuters strongly condemn Malacañang’s announcement that the government will push through with its anti-poor phaseout scheme amid the strong objection of the transport sector, as proven by the 90 percent participation in our two-day nationwide transport strike. This only forces us to hold more strikes in the next months until the government’s phaseout scheme is junked,” labor movement Kilusang Mayo Uno said in a statement also on Tuesday.
But after affirming that the final day of the strike was 90-percent successful, San Mateo said this is not his group’s measurement of success but the government’s reactions to the strike.
He referred to Malacañang’s suspension of classes and work in government offices.
Mateo also, pointed out that because of their protest, a hearing will be set at the House of Representatives to hear the strikers’ grievances on October 19.
Police authorities stationed in Cubao, Quezon City, among them Chief Insp. Mario Manipin, deputy station commander of the Quezon City Police District’s Station 7 (Cubao), said the second day of the two-day strike was “more peaceful” than the first day.
They put at 60 the number of the strikers in the afternoon.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it was grateful for the “generally peaceful” and “orderly outcome” of the two-day transport strike staged by different transport organizations that ended on Tuesday.
According to PNP spokesman and Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, even though there were mass actions and public assemblies all over Metro Manila, the police, together with road marshalls, were able to handle the strike peacefully.
Carlos said nationwide suspension of classes and work in government offices prevented unwanted effects of “lack of public transportation” as a result of the strike.
“Overall, however, there was no general paralysis of public transportation services reported anywhere,” he added.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), however, said the strike still had a “minimal effect” on Tuesday, with the number of affected passengers in Metro Manila barely reaching one percent.
“As of this afternoon, the number of vehicles that we have deployed only assisted around 580 passengers,” the LTFRB said.
The board noted that the paralyzation rate in different regions only reached a maximum of 20 percent, particularly in Angeles City and San Fernando, Pampanga, and zero percent for the rest of the regions.
WITH REPORT FROM RJ CARBONELL