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)