MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The second day of the nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned jeepney modernization program on Tuesday, October 17, will be scaled down, as fewer participants are expected in areas outside Metro Manila.
Drivers in the two major metropolitan areas in the Visayas and Mindanao – Cebu and Davao – are not joining the strike anymore.
Government work and classes for all levels remain suspended nationwide on Tuesday, Malacañang announced late evening Monday. (Earlier in the evening, however, the Palace said these would resume because the strike "barely affected the riding public.")
Malacañang said the contingency preparation Monday would remain for Tuesday.
Piston Cebu coordinator Greg Perez said earlier the plan was really just to stage mini rallies in key cities in Cebu province on the first day of the nationwide strike. On Monday, the participating drivers did not block jeepneys and other public modes of transportation on the streets to urge them to join the strike. They only held programs in Cebu City, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
In Davao City, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Mindanao secretary general Sheena Duazo said that there would be no strike in Davao on Tuesday because drivers asked for a single day participation.
Only 80% of the jeepney drivers in Davao City joined Monday’s protest – short of the 90 to 99% target of transport group Piston’s local chapter in Southern Mindanao.
Piston said the strike will continue in the following areas on Tuesday:
The No to Jeepney Coalition, which led the mobilization with Piston and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), claimed that 90% or 225,000 of the 250,000 total jeepneys across the country participated on Monday.
However, a situation report from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) indicated that there were no reports of transport suspension in the following regions:
LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said the effect of the transport strike was "minimal." (READ: Jeepney riders feel effects of transport strike)
Jeepney operators and drivers oppose the planned phaseout of jeepneys that are 15 years or older, saying it would lead to loss of jobs.
"The phaseout scheme will displace over a million Filipinos in the PUJ (public utility jeepney) industry: drivers, operators, and other PUJ-based informal workers," said Piston and KMU in a joint statement. (READ: Is the PUV modernization program 'anti-poor?')
"It would be also a burden to our commuters, with minimum fares rising up to P20 and deregulated hikes through the Ayala-owned Beep automated fare collection system," they added. (READ: DOTr hits Piston 'propaganda' on modernization program)
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade called the jeepney drivers "selfish" and "small-minded," and said those who participated in the strike should be charged with economic sabotage. – Rappler.com