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)