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First Kalinga transport strike due to jeepney phaseout

By TMK
www.nordis.net

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — About 150 drivers, operators and commuters launched a protest action against the implementation of the jeepney phase out program by the current administration on July 9, 2018 here in the city center.

The first ever protest of the transport sector in the city commenced with a protest caravan of about 40 jeepneys from Bulanao in front of the Provincial Hospital towards the City hall in Dagupan, Tabuk city with MPT, streamers and calls to denounce the jeepney phase out of the present government administration which is an attack to their lives and livelihood.

Marching around the the city center, the protesters trooped to the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session hall to present before the city legislators their criticisms and position paper on the Jeepney modernization program through the Department Order No. 217-011 or the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines released by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) on June 19, 2017.

The said protest was organized and led by the Kalinga Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (KaFeJODA) a newly formed federation of different small associations of public transport groups in the province. Whereas, the commuters especially from the basic sector- farmers welcomed the activity and mobilized themselves to participate in the protest action believing that in the end, it is them who will surely suffer the consequences and effect of this jeepney phase out.

The drivers, operators and commuters out rightly opposed the plan of the Duterte government to modernize the public transport wherein by the end of 2020 the current jeepney will be replaced by either solar a powered jeep, electronic jeeps and/or Euro IV engine jeeps.

“Dakami nga babassit nga jeepney operators ken drivers agraman maapektaran nga umili ditoy Kalinga ket saan mi a palubusan ti kayat ken panggep ti administrasyon ni Duterte nga i-modernize wenno sukatan dagiti pampubliko nga transportasyon. Kontra kami iti jeepney phase-out gapu ta dakami ti number 1 nga maapektaran. Patayen na ti pangkabiagan mi nga babbassit nga operators ken drivers,” the KaFeJODA statement read.

(We the small jeepney operators and drivers together with the affected people of Kalinga are not in favor on the plan of the Duterte administration to replace the public transportation vehicles, we are against the jeepney phase out because we wil be the first ones to be adversely affected. It will kill our source of livelihood.)

“First and foremost, we the small operators and drivers cannot afford these expensive jeeps they are trying to introduce ranging from eight hundred thousand up to 1.6 million pesos. Furthermore, these type of jeeps are not applicable here in the province considering the mountainous terrain,” the statement further read.

The operators and drivers belied the modernization program of the Duterte government and said, “instead, it is but another strategy of the capitalist corporations to monopolize and corporatize the public transportation system for their super profits.

They also claimed that this program is a disaster to their livelihood that would slump them to poverty. Through the fleet consolidation scheme of the PUV modernization, it will displace most of the current drivers/operators who are single operator units.

“Maawanan kami iti kontrol iti bukod mi a lugan ken prangkisa gapu ta maikonsentra kadagiti korporasyon ken babaknang nga isu da metlaeng ti makabael a makagatang iti minimum 15 units kadagitoy a lugan.” (“we no longer have control over our own jeeps and franchise since it will be concentrated to the corporation and rich businessmen who also are the only ones who can afford to buy a minimum of 15 units of these type of jeeps” the statement also read.

On the other hand, the city legislators welcomed and accommodated the protesters in their regular session. The protesters presented before the legislators their position paper asking the city councilors to support their plea via resolution to suspend the implementation of the Department of Transportation department order and the current transport system at status quo.

The legislators expressed that they cannot supersede any memorandum released from the national, however they assured to look into it and make an action to address the pressing issue. The city legislative body through the Committee on Transportation shall review and study the Department Order and Memorandum Circular No. 2018-008. The legislators also seconded the motion of Hon. Zoraida Wacnang to invite the KaFeJODA to sit during the review and study the said Department Order.

Meanwhile, the protesters felt dismayed upon their observation that the city councilors are obviously not so aware of the issue of the jeepney phase out. #nordis.net

No strike today: Piston condemns Palace suspension of classes

Jeepney drivers and operators condemned Malacañan Palace’s suspension of classes Tuesday based merely on “slightest threat of a [jeepney] strike.”

In a statement, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) chairperson George San Mateo said there is no truth to Malacañan’s announcement the group planned to have more jeepney strikes after Monday.

“As Piston announced last March 14, the transport strike was scheduled only for Monday (March 19),” San Mateo said.

“Piston forcefully condemns Malacañan’s announcement based on a false information aimed at confusing the people. This is the [Rodrigo] Duterte’s way of trying to undermine the drivers and operators’ call against the jeepney phaseout,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announcement Tuesday morning the suspension of classes following instructions from Duterte.

“The President has instructed that he will suspend classes even with the slightest threat of a strike to ensure the protection and well-being of students,” Roque said.

Roque made a similar announcement Monday, saying the Palace will call for a class suspension in Metro Manila Tuesday until Friday “if and when Piston pushes through with its threat to continue its nationwide strike.”

Piston and San Mateo said Roque’s claim is “fake news.”

Piston clarified Monday night there will be no more transport strikes this week.

“The strike was only for one day today, March 19. It is only Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who is coming out with the fake news there may be a strike tomorrow (Tuesday),” the group said.

Piston said it is impossible for Malacañan not to know there are no extensions after full coverage by media and government intelligence agents of Monday’s strike.

Piston opposes the Duterte government’s plan to immediately replace the iconic jeepneys with expensive vehicles

The group added they are for modernization of public mass transport in the country, but not at the expense of millions of families who depend on the jeepney for their livelihood and affordable mode of transport. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte an ‘arrogant fake’–CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called President Rodrigo Duterte an “arrogant fake” for cussing the drivers and small operators who recently held a two-day nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned phase out of the iconic jeepney.

Nagpupuputok ang butse mo sa ibinubugang usok ng mga jeep, pero tameme ka naman sa napakakapal na usok ng mga coal-fired power plant na lumalason sa kapaligiran sa buong bansa,” the CPP said in a statement. [You are angry at the smoke belched by the jeepney but you are silent about the thick smoke from coal-fired power plants that poison the entire country’s environment.]

“The truth is, you just want drivers and small operators to die in hardship and poverty in order to serve your true masters,” the group added.

In his speech at the Federalism Summit in Naga City Tuesday, Duterte unleashed another cuss-filled tirade against the protesters,

Mahirap kayo? P*******a, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom. Wala akong pakialam!” Duterte told the protesters. [You say you are poor? You sons of bitches, put up with hardship and hunger. I don’t have a care!]

The CPP said Duterte again showed his true color.

[G]alit sa mga gutom at mahirap, laluna ang mga marunong manindigan at lumaban para sa kanilang interes,” the CPP said. [He is against the hungry and the poor, especially those who know how to stand up and struggle for their interests.]

In his speech, Duterte also branded transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, human rights group Karapatan and Kilusang Mayo Uno as CPP fronts.

Dictator’s mindset

Other groups also condemned Duterte’s statements against the protesters.

“We say to Mr. Duterte: please stick to the issue! His self-indulged blabbing over the national television, refuses to address the real threat to the livelihood of the country’s jeepney drivers being posed by the Jeepney Phaseout Scheme,” KMU said.

KMU said Duterte refuses to listen to the jeepney drivers and operators’ legitimate demand and logical reasoning to junk the jeepney phaseout scheme.

“Duterte is proving he himself is a front of the oligarchs, such as the Ayalas, Pangilinan, and Cojuangco, who will be raking super profits from this scheme. The same oligarchs whom he handed control over MRT/LRT, express ways, telecommunication, power, and water,” KMU said.

“Duterte has the mindset of a dictator! When the poor exercise their right to speak up against threats to their livelihood, he brands their actions as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘rebellion’,” the group added.

Anakbayan Metro Manila burns an image of Duterte following the President’s cuss-filled tirade against striking jeepney drivers. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

Meanwhile, youth group Anakbayan-Metro Manila slipped through heavily-guarded Mendiola Street to hold a lightning rally at Malacañan Palace Thursday and condemn “Duterte’s inhumane and anti-poor statement” on the recently concluded transport strike.

The group burned Duterte’s image depicting him as “anti-poor, anti-people, and subservient to foreign masters” at the Palace’s Gate 7.

Anakbayan said it also holds Duterte accountable for the extrajudicial killings as well as the violent demolition and harassment of residents in Floodway, Pasig. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

LTFRB lawyer crashes PISTON rally in Cubao

Tension built up at a protest activity in Cubao, Quezon City as jeepney drivers on strike accused Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) spokesperson Aileen Lizada of interrupting and heckling their press briefing.

Protesting drivers and supporters were holding a press conference early afternoon Tuesday when Lizada arrived at the venue and drew reporters to her for a media briefing of her own.

Lizada again belittled the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON)-led two-day nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned phase-out of jeepneys and other public utility vehicles (PUV’s).

Lizada also threatened to file charges against participating drivers and operators as well as No To Jeepney Phase-Out Coalition leaders.

Initially taken aback by Lizada\s actions, Piston, Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Migrante, and Anakbayan members responded with chants during Lizada’s briefing.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel formed a security ring around the LTFRB official.

Piston national chairpersonv George San Mateo called Lizada an “attack dog and deodorizer of President Rodrigo Duterte.”

San Mateo again urged President Duterte to a dialogue, saying he must scrap the PUV and jeepney phase-out plan.

In their press briefing before Lizada’s interruption, Piston said their two-day strike was succesful in informing the people of the “impending corporate take-over” of the entire public transport in the country. # (Report and photo by Kathy Yamzon)