Transport strike looms in NMindanao

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: A regionwide multi-sectoral transport strike in Northern Mindanao on Monday is expected to draw more groups and sectors to join the planned two-day transport strike, organized transport groups said here on Saturday.

Ringo Lago, Secretary General of the Solidarity of Transport Alliances in Region 10 (Starex), said the group has already sent notice to school officials and local government officials of the possible crippling effect of the transport strike.

He said the local transport industry is wary of the Land Transportation Office’s new policy of phasing out the 15-year-old jeepneys next year.

“We want to dramatize our protest to the phase out because it would leave about 500 families in Cagayan De Oro City alone who rely their livelihood in the jitney passenger industry,” Lago said.

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The protesters would start early on Monday morning and would install “choke points” in strategic areas in downtown Cagayan De Oro City, Lago added.

There are a number of local transport groups in Northern Mindanao, including the National Confederation of Transport Union.

The Department of Transportation (DoTR) planned to replace the old jeepneys with new vehicles of low carbon emission under the government’s “modernizing the PUJ, instead of phasing it out” program.

Aside from plying vehicles with standard carbon emission, the DoTR would also impose rigid management and maintenance of the new fleet of vehicles to improve passenger safety.

Transport leaders argued that the new requirement imposed by the Land Transportation and Franchise Board) for operators to shell out 40 percent of the P1-million to acquire a new vehicle and a new public utility vehicle or jeepney unit and franchise is not feasible.

Lago expressed fear that only the moneyed transport groups and investors would be given the chance to acquire new franchises under the new police.

He said that the new policy of requiring stakeholders to raise P1-milliion for a new transport vehicle would leave hundreds of middle-income-operators helpless, which would also affect the livelihood of the poor jeepney drivers.

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