Tuloy ang welga: PISTON rejects ‘further study’ of jeepney phase-out scheme

Striking public transport drivers and operators rejected government promises to further study their demands to stop the phase-out of traditional jeepneys and announced the continuation of their scheduled three-day strike.

In a statement, the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) said government representatives offered only promises that do not address their fears of losing their livelihood.

PISTON president Mody Floranda said Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III only told them the agency will further “study” their demand to withdraw their December 31 deadline against independently-operated  traditional jeepneys.

Floranda added that Guadiz had the same response to their additional demand of scrapping the franchise consolidation schemes under public transport cooperatives as well as the replacement of the iconic Filipino jeepneys.

“Puro paasa. Hindi na mahinitay ng mga kumakalam na sikmura ng mga tsuper at operator ang ‘pag-aaral’ ng LTFRB,” Floranda said. (They just want to bring our hopes up again. But the empty stomachs of drivers and operators could no longer wait for their so-called studies.)

In a statement, Department of Transportation secretary Jaime Bautista said the December 31 deadline is not for the replacement of traditional jeepneys but on the consolidation of franchises.

Denying there is a government phase-out program on the jeepneys, Bautista added that roadworthy jeepneys may continue to operate next year.

Bautista also said that there are cheaper vehicles that operators may buy through loans from government banks .

Floranda however said the government attempts to pacify striking jeepney drivers do not address their demands but an effort to make it appear they are concerned about the public welfare.

PISTON has accused the franchise consolidation program as a scheme to take away jeepney franchises from small and independent operators and concentrate them under transport cooperatives controlled by businesspersons.

Members of transport group Manibela joined in Monday’s transport strike in Metro Manila and key regions around the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Strike immobilizes jeepney routes in Metro Manila, regional centers nationwide

The ongoing jeepney strike immobilized jeepney routes in Metro Manila and several regions nationwide by as much as 100 percent, the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) reported.

Despite threats of punishment by the government, the nationwide protest action against the phaseout of the iconic jeepney failed to deter drivers and small operators who also trooped to Mendiola in Manila to protest the government’s controversial modernization program of public utility vehicles.

PISTON said Cubao-San Juan,Cubao-Divisoria, Malolos (Bulacan)-San Fernando (Pampanga), Jollibee Molino, Alabang-Zapote, Marcos-Alvarez, Sangandaan-Pajo-Divisoria, and the Zobel Roxas- Paco jeepney routes have been 100% paralyzed starting 7AM.

The group added that Cubao-Quiapo, Kalaw-Proj. 2&3, Navotas-Divisoria-Recto-Monumento-Malabon,Pateros-Pasig, Paliparan-Zapote, Bagong Silangan (Quezon City) and Sta. Rosa in Laguna is also completely paralyzed.

Dozens of other routes in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and several cities in the Visayas have also participated in the strike, mostly by PISTON members.

Few jeepneys are seen plying their routes in major routes around Metro Manila such as Commonwealth Avenue, C5, and Rizal Province.

The Department of Transportation earlier warned the strikers that they will face both administrative and criminal sanctions, including the revocation of their license.

Transport group Manibela initiated the protest by announcing last week a five-day transport strike that PISTON decided to support.

Both Manibela and PISTON are demanding President Ferdinand Marcos’ Jr.’s revocation of DoTr’s public transport modernization guidelines mandating small operators to surrender their franchises to cooperatives and big businesses.

In a bid to prevent today’s transport strike, the DoTr has moved the deadline of the phaseout from June 31 to December 31, to no avail.

PISTON national president Mody Floranda earlier explained that the transport strike is their only way of being heard by the government.

Floranda said that while they are not opposing the modernization of the country’s public transport system, it should not come at the expense of the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers and small operators.

The ongoing strike is the largest since the start of the pandemic in 2020. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘PUV phaseout, para lamang sa malalaking negosyante’

Aabot sa 95 porsyento ang pagtigil ng pasada sa malawak na lugar ng Kamaynilaan noong Lunes, Setyembre 30, ayon sa PISTON. Ito ay bukod pa sa ilang mga probinsiya na lumahok din sa proteste laban sa phase out ng public utility vehicles sa buong bansa.

Ayon sa mga tsuper, tatanggalin ang kanilang indibidwal na prangkisa sa dyip, UV express at tricycle na siya namang sakayan ng mayorya ng mahihirap na Pilipino. Ang mga prangkisa naman ay iko-konsentra sa malalaking negosyante na magpapanggap na mga kooperatiba. Magdudulot ng malawakang pagkawala ng kanilang hanapbuhay ang dulot ng iskemang ito, anila. (Bidyo ni Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)

Transport strike: Palace ignores LTFRB recommendation, suspends work and classes anew

Malacañan Palace suspended government work and classes on all levels today on the second day of the massive protests against the planned phase-out of jeepneys despite claims by transport agencies the strike failed.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea announced the nationwide suspension before midnight Monday after the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) claimed a 90 per cent paralysis of major jeepney transport routes on the first day of the strike.

”Obviously, PISTON’s transport strike had no effect. So we are not recommending class and work cancellation tomorrow,” Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board spokesperson Atty. Aileen Lizada said yesterday.

In a partial field report of transport paralysis midday Monday however, PISTON said 100 per cent of Parañaque and Makati jeepneys participated yesterday while Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela routes registered 97 per cent participation.

Sta. Mesa, Manila routes registered 95 per cent while Novaliches, Zapote, Anda Circle, Litex, Marikina and the rest of Manila registered 90 per cent respectively, the group said.

Cubao routes registered 80 per cent participation, PISTON added.

In the regions, Nueva Vizcaya, Bulacan, Butuan and General Maria Alvarez (Cavite) registered 100 per cent, PISTON said.

Laguna (95%), Baguio (75%), Davao (95%), Pampanga (98%), Rizal (95%), Albay (95%), Camarines Sur (90%), Masbate (80%), Surigao City (60%) and Cebu (50%) also participated in the strike, the group added.

PISTON and other transport groups are protesting against the phase out of the iconic public transport vehicle and their replacement with brand new units costing from PhP1 to PhP1.8 million each.

“Adjusted for [six %] interest, the government subsidy [of PhP80,000] and payment terms of, the PhP1.6 million can balloon to a payable of almost PhP 2.2 million in seven year,” PISTON said.

“Which means that a jeep has to be paid PhP313,142.86 per year or Php869.84 per day excluding fuel, boundary and other indirect expenses,” the group added.

PISTON sought a dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte last July to present their counter proposals for the modernization of the mass transport system but were dismissed.

“’Saka na yan! Magwelga muna kayo, dalawang buwan. Bigyan ko pa kayo permit,’ Duterte told us,” PISTON said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)