2-day nationwide transport strike vs PUJ phaseout set

Transport workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, transport alliance Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) and other transport and commuters’ groups under the No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition announced today that they will hold a two-day nationwide transport strike on October sixteen to seventeen to demand the demand the junking of the Duterte administration’s PUJ Phaseout program that would ‘massacre’ the livelihood of over 600,000 PUJ drivers and operators nationwide.

“Duterte has not only rejected our demand to junk the previous Aquino administration’s PUJ phaseout program, he is now even rushing its implementation to complete the monopoly take-over of our livelihood by his big business cronies and foreign auto industry giants,” said PISTON National President George San Mateo.

The phaseout program will be implemented on starting January 2018 through the Department of Transportation’s Omnibus Franchising Guidelines which forces PUJ drivers and operators to purchase a minimum of ten ‘brand new’ PUJ units which costs over 1.6 million pesos each and will be operated under a ‘fleet management’ scheme run by big transport companies while fares would be collected through the “Beep card” automated collection system owned and operated by the big business Ayala-Pangilinan consortium who has also a monopoly control over the MRT and LRT.

“They want to rid small operators and drivers of our livelihood to hand over to the monopoly control of big foreign and local businesses. Only big transport corporations can come up with over 20 million pesos to comply with the DOTr’s new guidelines. Worse, this phaseout scheme is in line with the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium’s plan to monopolize the country’s mass transport system,” San Mateo said.

The KMU meanwhile called on the riding public, especially the workers, students and professionals to stand with PUJ drivers and operators against the corporate monopoly control of our mass transport system.

“Duterte is conniving with his big business cronies and foreign auto-industry giants in completing the corporate monopoly control of our mass transport system. This would result in massive joblessness among transport workers and other informal livelihood base on PUV operations. For commuters, it would result in deregulated fare hikes and regressive service since it would be turned to a milking cow of big corporations,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson said.

The labor center meanwhile claimed that the 2-day strike, the first time in decades, aims to show that PUJ drivers and operators and the riding public will not allow the Duterte government to push through with its anti-people and pro-big business PUJ phaseout program.

“We call on all PUJ drivers and operators nationwide to join the 2-day strike and show Duterte that we will not give-up our livelihood and our families’ future to big businesses. We also call on the riding public of workers, students and professionals to take part in the strike by holding mass actions in support of our drivers and operators and to demand for a nationalized safe, efficient and affordable mass transport system,” said Labog.