THE Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) has called off its planned two-day transport strike that was to start today, Monday.
The group said it cancelled the strike so that its officials can prepare for the Senate hearing called by Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services committee.
The senator welcomed the transport group’s decision to cancel the strike.
“Issues can be better discussed and resolved when sobriety and judiciousness are exercised, in pursuit of the highest public good,” she said.
“’Yung pagpapaliban ng strike, ang purpose talaga ay to give way sa hearing, pangalawa, para sa paghahanda sa mas malawakang strike kung walang kahahantungan itong hearing (The purpose of the decision to cancel the strike was to give way to the hearing and also to better prepare for the holding of a massive strike if nothing will come out of the hearing),” Piston chief George San Mateo told The Manila Times on Sunday.
Piston, along with transport group No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition and other militant groups said they will instead hold a transport caravan on Monday and Tuesday.
Members of the group will converge at Welcome Rotonda at 8 a.m. and the march to the University of Santo Tomas where they will join other groups.
The groups will then proceed to Mendiola to stage the protest for the rest of the day.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it will alert quick response teams so as not to compromise the safety of commuters.
“We have directed the heads of the enforcement to check the routes involved as well as the terminals of Piston, then we will decide by (Monday) noontime whether to continue monitoring,” said LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada.
Malacañang meanwhile expressed hopes that transport groups will support the jeepney modernization program.
“We remain optimistic that Piston will soon engage with the government, and support the implementation of the long-delayed PUV Modernization Program, which only aims to provide our commuters a safer, more reliable, convenient, environment-friendly, and dignified commuting experience,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
Piston had earlier said that it would initiate another nationwide transport strike as a sign of being against the Department of Transportation’s jeepney modernization program.
The LTFRB last week filed charges before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office against Piston leader George San Mateo for violating the Public Service Law.
WITH DEMPSEY REYES