Piston to hold another protest rally

By Futch Anthony Inso, Jose Santino S. Bunachita July 16,2017

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) will hold another protest rally today to protest the phaseout of 15-year-old and older jeepneys.

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston)-Cebu will hold a simultaneous march rally today to protest against the plan to phase out jeepney units at least 15 years old and the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

Greg Perez, coordinator of Piston-Cebu, said 15 percent of their members will join the said activity.

Piston has around 200 members in Cebu and about 500 members in Central Visayas.

The group will gather at the Fuente Rotunda at around 8:00 a.m. and then march to Colon Street, down to Cebu City Hall where the group will hold a program.

According to Perez, they are against Department Order 2017-011 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance that was signed by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

Perez said the department order will lead to the phaseout of jeepneys that are more than 15 years old.

The order also mandates the examination of drivers for the renewal of their license and the mandatory enrollment of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers in a Driver’s Academy, a program of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Perez described the order as anti-poor, as only drivers who are high school graduates are allowed to enroll.

They also oppose the vehicles that will replace the jeepneys that will be phased out.

“Mahal kaayo ang mga unit nga ilang ipa-ilis sama anang Euro4 engine, solar powered ug e-cars. Unya kinahanglan pod nga 10 ka unit ang kuhaon sa operator aron ma-isyuhan og franchise. Ang kada unit mobalor sa 900,000 ngadto sa 1.6 million pesos, mag-unsa naman lang mi’ng gagmay nga operators?” Perez said.

(The units like the Euro4 engine, solar powered and e-cars are very expensive, and you need at least 10 in order to get a franchise. Every unit costs from P900,000 to P1.6 million. So what will happen to the small operators?)

Piston also opposes the BRT and the LRT, saying the projects do not have any clear plan for some affected sectors.

“Wa man sila’y klarong plano kun unsay mahitabo namong jeepney drivers, sa mga vendors ug ubang establisyamento nga maapektuhan,” Perez added.

(There is no clear plan for jeepney drivers, vendors and other sectors that will be affected.)

Meanwhile, Francisco Ouano, Operations chief of Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), told CDN that they will deploy eight traffic enforcers during the march rally.

Although he believes the activity will not affect traffic flow, they will still see to it that no commuters are stranded.

We will look at the situation tomorrow if there will be heavy traffic or if our transportation system will be paralyzed. But so far, they did not say they will hold a transport strike,” he said.

There will be standby vehicles in case passengers will be stranded, he added.

The activity is expected to end at noon.

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