STRIKING transport groups claimed on Monday that parts of Luzon were paralyzed by “100 percent” on the first day of a two-day protest against a government plan to modernize public utility jeepneys (PUJs).
The Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) said it would continue the strike on Tuesday.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which supported the strike, claimed that all of Makati, Pasay-Pier, Novaliches-Malinta via General Luis, Malabon-Navotas-Monumento, and Sucat-Evacom routes in Metro Manila were “100 percent paralyzed”.
The same went for San Fernando, Guagua, Bacolor, Mexico, Arayat, Angeles City, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin in Pampanga, the KMU said.
Meanwhile, Rizal, Tikling, Binangonan, Antipolo, Taytay, from Sta. Lucia to Crossing were “95 percent paralyzed” while Laguna, “90 percent”.
Late in the afternoon, George San Mateo, president of Piston, claimed that the transport strike paralyzed “90 percent” of the country.
“Naparalyze ang jeepney routes ng 90 percent nationwide sa kabila ng idineklara ng Malacanang na walang pasok. Masasabi kong naging matagumpay ang ating strike,” he said.
(90 percent of jeepney routes were paralyzed despite Malacanang’s suspension of classes. I can say that the strike was a success.)
“Siyempre tuloy na tuloy pa rin kami sa pagprotesta bukas,” San Mateo confirmed.
(Of course, the protest will resume tomorrow.)
The No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition claimed that over 90 percent or 225,000 out of the estimated 250,000 total number of jeepney units nationwide participated on the first day of the strike.
Transport groups gathered on the streets early Monday for the strike.
In Cubao, Quezon City, one of the main protest centers in Metro Manila, about 40 members of PISTON led the protest as early as 7 a.m.
“Sino ba namang may ayaw mag-ari ng bagong sasakyan? Ang problema dito yung framework (ng gobyerno),” San Mateo told The Manila Times.
“Wala sanang problema kung may full employment benefits (yung modernization program) para sa mga drivers,” he added.
(There should be no problem if there were full employment benefits for the drivers.)
“Ipinagpupumilit ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) na dapat sumunod sa ‘international standards’ ang Pilipinas. Kung kaya’t dapat nang palitan ang mga jeepneys ng mga Beep Jeeps, solar-powered, electric at EURO 4 units,” PISTON said in a statement on Monday.
(The Department of Transportation is forcing us to follow international standards. This is why we have to reokace the jeepneys with Beep Jeeps, solar-powered, electric and EURO 4 units.)
It added that the new transportation units being sold amounted to P1.5 million, which meant that the operator or driver would have to shell out P27,000 monthly.
“Dobleng dagok ito sa mga tsuper at operator gayung halos tatlong beses magtaas ang presyo ng gasolina kada buwan,” PISTON added.
(This is a double whammy to drivers and operators as the price of gasoline increases every month.)
However, there were drivers who chose not to join the strike, and continued plying their respective routes.
“Ni wala pa po akong boundary eh. Iniisip ko pa po kung sasama ako mamaya,” driver Ronilo Nunez said.
(I haven’t earned my boundary yet. I am still thinking about it.)
Commuters were still getting rides at 8 a.m.
“Sa lugar naman namin maraming bumabyahe,” commuter Daniel Ocampo said, describing a smooth travel from Marikina to Cubao.
(There were a lot of jeepneys in our area.)
“Sa ngayon kasi parang nakikita ko hindi naman mahirap sumakay kasi marami namang jeepney,” he added.
(For now, I can see that transportation isn’t difficult because there are a lot of jeepneys.)
Commuter Gerry Ontal who travelled from Balete Drive in Quezon City also easily got a jeepney ride in the morning.
“Hindi naman po ako nahirapan. Umalis ako mga 8:00. Wala namang gulo sa strike. Pabor ako sa ginagawa nitong mga drivers. Mahirap ang kalagayan nila,” he added.
(I didn’t find it difficult. I left at about 8 a.m. The strike was peaceful. I am in favor of what these drivers did. Their situation is difficult.)
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Spokesperson Aileen Lizada said the transport strike had “very minimal” effect.