Piston, other groups to hold transport strike on June 25

Aside from the government's jeepney phaseout program, the groups will also protest rising fuel prices caused by the TRAIN law

JEEPNEY STRIKE. Transport groups protest the jeepney phaseout during a nationwide transport caravan at the Elliptical Road in Quezon City in 2017. File photo by Darren Langit

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation groups will hold a strike on Monday, June 25, to protest the government’s jeepney phaseout plan and “overpriced” fuel prices due to the tax reform law.

In a joint manifesto, the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and the No To Jeepney Phase Out Coalition (NTJPOC), urged public transport operators, drivers, and concerned citizens to join their planned protest action on June 25.

“Sa Hunyo 25, 2018, 8:00 ng umaga, magtipon tayo sa harap ng Petron gas station sa East Avenue kanto ng NIA Road, para mag-martsa sa LTFRB!”  the groups said.

(On June 25, 2018, at 8 am, let us gather in front of the Petron gas station in East Avenue corner NIA Road, to march to the LTFRB!)

The groups said they would also protest what they called the “new scheme” of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in implementing the jeepney phaseout.

They referred to LTRFB Memorandum Circulars 2018-006 on the Guidelines for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program’s Initial Implementation pursuant to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) and MC 2018-008 on the Consolidation of Franchise Holders in Compliance with Department Order No. 2017-011 issued on March 13 and 18 of this year, respectively.

Under the MCs, individual franchise holders should form a cooperative or corporation. It also set a one-year period for the submission of applications for new routes, subject to public hearings.

Within 3 months after the LTFRB approves the application, the operators should replace their fleet with electric, solar or Euro 4 utility vehicles.

The groups said this was no different from the previous  scheme that operators and drivers had complained about.

“Sa dulo ay bibili pa rin ng mga mamahaling sasakyan (In the end, we would still have to buy expensive vehicles),” they said.

The groups also said they would protest against higher fuel prices caused by the Tax Reform Accleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which had added P9 to fuel prices from the start of its implementation in January, to May.

They said higher fuel prices translate to an additional daily operational cost of P270, at 30 liters consumption per day. (READ: [OPINION] Dissecting TRAIN’s impact on our incomes)

“Kung kukwentahin pati na sa simula ng rehimen ni Duterte, kung saan umabot na sa P14 per liter ang itinaas ng presyo ng diesel, at P16 naman ang gasolina, abot na sa P420 kada araw ang nawawala sa driver ng jeepney,” they said.

(If we compute this from the start of the Duterte regime, where diesel prices have increased by as much as P14, and P16 for gasoline, jeepney drivers have been losing P420 per day.)

The same groups held a transport strike  against the jeepney phaseout on March 18. – Rappler.com