public transportation

PISTON to stage transport strike starting November 20

Lance Spencer Yu

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PISTON to stage transport strike starting November 20

STRIKE. Leaders of transport group PISTON pose as they announce a 3-day transport strike starting November 20, 2023.

PISTON

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board intends to deploy about 250 vehicles across Metro Manila to cater to about 10 routes that will be affected by Monday’s transport strike

MANILA, Philippines – Another transport strike – this time spearheaded by PISTON – will be pushing through beginning Monday, November 20, to protest the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), here are the routes that may be affected by Monday’s strike:

  1. Novaliches-Malinta along Gen. Luis
  2. Shelter Ville-Novaliches
  3. Bagumbong-Novaliches
  4. Deparo-Novaliches
  5. Paco-Sta. Mesa
  6. Monumento Area
  7. Catmon
  8. Alabang Area, Baclaran
  9. A. Francisco St.- San Andres Bukid
  10. NIA-NPC to Mindanao Ave.

The LTFRB gave assurances that it was “fully prepared” for the upcoming strike.

“In the event of a transport strike, rest assured that we are fully prepared to offer free rides to the public,” LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialogo said in a statement on Sunday, November 19.

The LTFRB intends to deploy about 250 vehicles across Metro Manila to serve 10,000 passengers per trip. The vehicles will be deployed as follows:

Why is PISTON holding a strike?

The planned 3-day strike is against the December 31 deadline given to operators of jeepneys for consolidation. According to government guidelines, an individual jeepney operator must consolidate into either a cooperative or corporation by year-end. (READ: As deadline looms, jeepney drivers must consolidate or retrain for another job)

PISTON fears that requiring individual operators to consolidate could result in the “monopoly of a few big fleet managers or corporations who have the necessary capitalization to control PUV routes.” PISTON president Mody Floranda is instead calling for the government to give back to individual jeepney operators their 5-year franchises.

Sa amin, kino-condemn namin ang usapin ng consolidation (We condemn talks of consolidation),” Mody Floranda told Rappler in an interview. 

Ang ating kahilingan ay ibalik nila doon sa 5 years ‘yung ating prangkisa sapagkat ‘yung prangkisa ng ating public transport ay pinagkaloob sa ilalim ng Republic Act 4136. ‘Yun pong [provisional authority] na ginagamit natin ngayon ay isang executive order lang ng LTFRB at [Department of Transportation],” he added.

(We’re asking them to return our 5-year franchise because the franchise for public transport is given under Republic Act 4136. The provisional authority given to us now is just from an executive order by LTFRB and the Department of Transportation.)

Further, operators worry they might be forced off the road if they fail to consolidate by the deadline. According to government data, only 95,869 out of 170,086 jeepney units nationwide – or 56.37% – have consolidated as of October 31, 2023.

Dito sa deadline ng December 31, 2023 na consolidation, sabi natin, paano ang mga hindi nag-consolidate na mga individual na operator? (What happens if individual operators don’t consolidate by December 31, 2023?)” Floranda said. 

Batay sa discussion, ang mga mawawalan naman ng hanapbuhay ay pwede naman mag-aral sa TESDA, pwede naman welder, pwede ka mag-mason,” he said. “Sabi natin, ba’t hindi natin pwedeng tulungan ‘yung merong hanapbuhay na?”

(Based on our discussion, those who lose their jobs could train in TESDA, become a welder or a mason. But we say, why can’t we just help those who already have a livelihood?)

This is now the fourth major transport strike this year, with the earlier three being led by transport group Manibela.

In March, the group launched a week-long transportation strike against the supposed “phaseout” of traditional jeepneys, before cutting it short following a meeting with Palace officials. Manibela held another transport strike during the President’s second State of the Nation Address to highlight the supposed bidding of routes to local politicians and big corporations.

The latest transport strike before Monday’s was also against the implementation of the government’s PUV modernization program, along with alleged corruption in the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). – Rappler.com

EXPLAINER: Why some transport groups support jeepney modernization

EXPLAINER: Why some transport groups support jeepney modernization

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.