Transport strike vs jeepney modernization set for September 25
MANILA, Philippines – A transport coalition is pushing through with its strike on Monday, September 25, in protest of the government’s jeepney modernization program.
“Tuloy po ang aming pagkilos bukas at iyon po’y sa pagtutol sa modernization program,” Jun Magno, president of the Stop and Go Coalition said in an interview with radio dzMM on Sunday, September 24.
(Our protest will push through tomorrow and this is in opposition to the modernization program)
Magno said they are against the government’s plan to lend operators P1.6 million for jeepney modernization. Operators, he said, will be asked to pay a heavy amount of P800 a day, payable for 7 years.
“Hindi ho nila kaya ang P1.6 million, P800 a day, Medyo mabigat po yun para sa kanila,” he said. (They could not shoulder the P1.6 million, P800 a day. That's a bit heavy for them.)
In a separate statement, transport group PISTON said it is not joining the planned strike on Monday and Tuesday, September 26.
PISTON’s George San Mateo said Stop and Go Coalition did not include PISTON and the No To Jeepney Phase Coalition (NTJPOC) in the planning stage.
“Walang imbitasyon at walang koordinasyon na pinaabot ang pamunuan ng STOP and GO sa pamunuan ng PISTON at NTJPOC. Sarili at solong plano itong kinasa ng Stop and Go nang walang input at walang koordinasyon sa PISTON at NTJPOC. Hindi uubra na lalahok ang PISTON at NTJPOC sa isang pagkilos na hindi ito naging kabahagi sa pagpaplano,” PISTON said in a statement.
(There was no invitation or coordination with the leaders of Stop and Go. This is their own plan, without any input or coordination with PISTON and NTJPOC. We will not join a protest that we were not part of the planning stage.)
San Mateo, however said, the NTJPOC and PISTON are supporting the calls against the program and said they are also planning a wide transport strike next month to oppose the jeepney phaseout, supposedly masked as modernization.
Appeal and warning
Aileen Lizada, board member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, said the government is ready to provide alternative transportation for passengers that will be affected.
She also appealed to the Coalition to consider the offer of the government. She told Magno that the government is giving each operator P80,000 as subsidy for modernization.
Lizada clarified this is not a “loan” but an assistance from the government.
“Tulong ng gobyerno... the government has included in its budget as DOTr is a beneficiary of the Comprehensive Tax Reform, P80,000 libre subsidy lahat ng gustong mag-modernize. P80,000 will cover 5% equity, di ito utang, tulong," Lizada said.
She also warned operators who will be caught ceasing operations that they will be issued a show-cause order for violating the franchise granted them.
Due to the planned strike, the local government of Malolos, Bulacan has declared a suspension of classes in all levels on Monday. – Rappler.com
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