Scrap franchise rules or we strike — Piston

By Inna Gian Mejia, Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, USJ-R Intern Patricia Erlaine N. Luardo July 17,2017

Jeepney drivers, members of the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide-Cebu, hold a rally outside the Cebu City Hall to protest the government’s jeepney modernization program.
CDN PHOTO/USJR INTERN Patricia Erlaine Luardo

Scrap the newly signed Omnibus Franchising Guidelines for the modernization of the public utility jeepneys on or before the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 24 or we will hold another transport strike.”

At least 100 members of the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide-Cebu (Piston-Cebu), made this threat during their protest rally at the City Hall against the modernization of jeepneys and the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit in Cebu City.

Greg Perez, coordinator of Piston Cebu, said that the new guidelines is anti-poor and will not benefit small time jeepney operators.

“Og mabaliwala gani ni aw inig human sa Sona mag transport strike me (If they will not heed our request after the SONA, then we will hold a transport strike),” Perez told Cebu Daily News.

When sought for comment on the transport group’s threat to hold a strike, Director Ahmed Cuizon of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas, said this move would only alienate them from the public.

“As it is many people have expressed support to the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, which is one of the thrusts of the OFG.

Filipinos have grown tired of our public transport system which obviously needs many changes,” Cuizon added.

The government also needs to fulfill the people’s longing for a safe, reliable, environment-friendly and more efficient public transportation.

“The time to modernize our PUVs is here and now. If we refuse to embrace progress, our public transport will forever remain in the dark ages,” Cuizon said.

But Perez said the modernization would not only affect the drivers, who would lose their jobs, but also the commuters, who might pay a higher fare because of the move.

Aside from that, Perez said they also opposed the implementation of the BRT in Cebu City because many drivers would also lose their jobs.

Fifteen thousand drivers will lose their job automatically. They have plans on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) but they have no plans for the displaced drivers,” he said in Cebuano.

Transportation Secretary signed Department Order No. 2017-011 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance on June 19, which will not use jeepney units 15 years and above.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he was willing to meet with Piston and listen to their grievances on the BRT.

However, he said he could not guarantee that there would be displacement.

“The whole government cannot adjust just for the sake of the drivers. What about the people? But we will have to do what we can,” Osmeña said.

He also said that if nothing would be done to solve the city’s traffic then it would eventually kill the jeepney drivers’ business.
He also said that he would meet the drivers to sort out alternative programs for them.

Aside from that, majority of the Cebu City barangays that will be affected by the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project are supporting the project,

specifically on the plan to remove more than 2,000 trees along the project route.

According to the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO), 12 of the 21 barangays where the trees are located have already agreed to the plan of the city government and the BRT Project Implementation Unit (PIU) to remove the trees.

“The 12 barangays do not object and just submitted directly a certificate of no objection even without having a public hearing because most of the sitios had already agreed and had no objection to the project,” CCENRO staff and former city agriculturist Joey Baclayon said.

These barangays are Kinasang-an, Quiot, Kalubihan, Banilad, Labangon, Duljo-Fatima, San Nicolas Proper, Sambag I, Sambag II, Capitol Site, Talamban, and Kasambagan.

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