Transport strike called off
Metro Cebu LGUs ready when leaders canceled planned transport holiday
Preparations of local governments in Metro Cebu, such as Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities, for a nationwide transport strike for Monday and Tuesday were already in place when transport leaders organizing the strike called it off.
The leaders of the planned jeepney strike announced the cancellation of their nationwide protest in a press briefing in Quezon City on Sunday morning.
The No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition led by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) has announced the cancellation of their jeepney strike which is slated on Monday to Tuesday.
“Wini-welcome at na-appreciate natin ang pag-imbita ni Senator Grace Poe kaya magbibigay-daan tayo sa konsultas-yong ito at ipagpaliban muna ang ating tigil-pasada,” Piston President George San Mateo said in a press conference in Quezon City.
Andy Berame, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said that they had already readied two city-owned buses and barangay vehicles to transport when needed the stranded passengers.
Aside from that, Berame also said that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7) also promised to deploy five Ceres buses to ply the Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City route but with a P10 fare per passenger.
They had also coordinated with Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot for the deployment of police personnel to secure the buses and other public areas during that time.
“Duna naman mi set up daan basta ingon aning transport strike,” said Berame. (We already have an arranged set up in case of a transport strike.)
Mandaue City had also implemented such plan.
Felix Suico, Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, said they had already readied 10 government vehicles to ferry possible stranded passengers.
Suico also said that Ceres buses that would ply Mandaue to Cebu City routes would also be provided by the LTFRB-7.
Senior Supt. Roberto Alanas will also deploy personnel to secure areas in the city.
Meanwhile, Piston President San Mateo said their members would stage a series of protests from Monday to Wednesday, and a wider transport strike in January 2018.
He said they would gather at the Welcome Rotonda on Monday and march to the University of Santo Tomas, where they will meet with other protesters at 11 a.m. They would proceed to Mendiola for a program.
On Tuesday, San Mateo said they would protest either at the Department of Justice or at the Metropolitan Trial Court to condemn the charges filed against him by the LTFRB.
In preparation for their dialogue at the Senate, where they hope to meet Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, they will hold a vigil at Mendiola on Wednesday.
Asked what alternatives to the jeepney modernization program their group was set to suggest before the Senate panel, San Mateo answered, “a system where there is national industrialization.”
“Kumpleto tayo sa raw materials. Kailangan talaga mag-produce ng sarili nating makina imbes na import ng import at massive liberalization,” he said. “Panahon na para maging self-reliant tayo.”
Metro Cebu rallies
In Metro Cebu, Piston-Cebu members will hold a rally, which will include a march from Gorordo Avenue to the LTFRB-7 office at the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.
Perez said the group would assemble at Gorordo Avenue at 8 a.m. and would march to the LTFRB-7 office where they would hold a program until noon.
He said they would then march to another venue at the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) office at V. Gullas St. in Cebu City.
The group will be joined by “Panaghugpong Kadamay-Cebu,” who is celebrating the Urban Poor Solidarity week.
Perez said that they are calling for the government to present concrete plans for the drivers and operators that will be dislocated with the implementation of the program that would start already next year.
He also said that the modernization program is anti-poor, especially that the recommended units that would replace PUJs that are 15 years old and above are very expensive.
“This may result in monopoly in the transportation sector. Only those big players in transportation industry can afford those units recommended by DOTr. What will happen to small jeepney operators, who are supporting their family and education for their children? To the commuters? Because this may result in the increase of fare because operators need to invest a very big amount,” Perez said.
P1.2M to P1.6M
In the modernization program, only vehicles with euro-4 engines, electronic cars (e-cars) and solar-powered vehicles are recommended to replace old PUJs.
Perez revealed that these vehicles may cost from P1.2 million to P1.6 million.
“How can we afford that? Plus an operator would not be allowed to be given franchise if his units do not reach 10 vehicles,” he added. /with reports from correspondents Futch Anthony Inso and Norman Mendoza
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