DAVAO CITY, Philippines – There was the usual traffic buildup during the morning rush hour in Davao City on Monday, October 16, with a 5th of public utility vehicle drivers not joining the national transportation strike.
Earlier, Transport of Southern Mindanao for Solidarity, Independence and Nationalism-Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operaytor Nationwide (Transmission-Piston) said the two-day protest, set for October 16 and 17, was targeted to paralyze “90 to 99” percent of Davao City’s traffic.
However, City Information Officer Jefry Tupas said in an advisory to reporters that some 20% of the city’s did not join the strike.
Some of the drivers opted to work on Monday despite an earlier notice from Transmission-Piston of a planned strike, thus the presence of PUVs on main thoroughfares.
“We were told of the strike but I drove because nobody warned against it anyway,” a driver told Rappler.
Monday’s protest was an attempt to “unify” drivers against government’s plan to roll out a modern version of jeepneys which they said would displace some 600,000 jeepney drivers nationwide.
“Duterte’s phaseout program would also be a burden to all tax payers as the government also aims to impose greater taxes through the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) to subsidize the big businesses and banks investing in the program,” Piston said in a statement.
As a response to the strike, the local government deployed more than 30 busses to assist passengers who may find themselves stranded.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the strike would also be used as an opportunity “to observe the streets with fewer jeepneys and more busses as envisioned in the High Priority Bus system for the Dabawenyos.”
The city wants to develop a bus system with the Asian Development Bank, which will facilitate the financing scheme of the project. – Rappler.com
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