A big transportation group is set to hold a strike in Metro Manila and several provinces on Monday, the opening of classes.
The transport strike headed by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) would be the third to protest the government’s plan to phase out the 15-year-old jeepney units.
George San Mateo, Piston president, said the transport strike will be held simultaneously in Metro Manila, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bicol, several provinces in Luzon, and in some provinces in Mindanao.
San Mateo said Piston will still lead the transport strike in Mindanao despite the declaration of martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He strongly maintained the opposition of Piston to the plan of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to get rid of the old models of jeepneys saying the public transportation modernization plan is not to the best interest of poor drivers and small operators. San Mateo added that operator of an electric jeepney fleet should have 20 units and a capitalization of at least P7 million under the jeepney modernization program.
He also said that the phase outof old units will result in higher fares because the cost of replacing jeepneys with cleaner and more fuel-efficient units —Euro 4 compliant engines or electric engines — is extremely high.
San Mateo emphasized that Piston will continue to hold transport strikes if the DOTr will not stop its modernization plan.
The DOTr public transport modernization plan started in the previous government. Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade decided to proceed with the plan after finding it beneficial to the commuting public.