Day 1 of nationwide transport strike vs jeepney phase-out hits 90% paralyzation

The No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition, PISTON and Kilusang Mayo Uno declared a successful first day of the 2-day Nationwide Transport Strike against the Duterte government’s Jeepney Phase-out Scheme by claiming a 90% nationwide paralyzation of jeepney operations across the country.

“The first day of our nationwide transport strike has successfully gathered an overwhelming participation and support of majority of PUJ drivers, operators and commuters. This should serve as a warning to the Duterte government to junk its phase-out scheme and instead adopt a pro-people modernization program that is not geared towards the corporate monopoly take-over of our mass transport system,” George San Mateo, PISTON national president and No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition convenor.

The No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition claimed that over 90% or 225,000 out of the estimated 250,000 total number of PUJ units nationwide participated on the first day of the strike. This number has been supported by thousands of commuters and people’s organizations.

“The number of participants in today’s strike debunks the government’s intrigues that only PISTON opposes the phaseout program. Even members of Pasang Masda, ACTO, FEJODAP, 1-UTAK and ALTODAP rejected their leaders and joined the strike. This only proves the broad outrage against the government’s scheme to rid us of our livelihood and burden our commuters for the sake of foreign and local big business profits,” San Mateo added.

National labor center KMU meanwhile slammed the Duterte government for desperately resorting to spreading “fake news” of destabilization to justify the day long harassments against participants of the strikes and the filing of trumped-up charges of economic sabotage against George San Mateo.

“The Duterte government is well aware of the strong rejection among drivers, operators and commuters over their anti-poor phase-out scheme. That is why they desperately spread the fake news of destabilization to justify the harassments against strike participants all over the country and the filing of trumped-up charges against our leaders. But their attempts to quell the protests were in vain,” Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, said.

KMU also condemned the government for rejecting the demands to junk the phase-out scheme and the implementation of a modernization program geared towards a nationalized mass transport system that is beneficial to drivers, operators and the riding public amidst today’s strike and warned that more strikes and protests will be held until their just and legitimate demands are met.

“Amidst the strong rejection among drivers, operators and commuters expressed today, the Duterte government remains hell-bent on completing the monopoly control of the Ayalas, Pangilinans and Cojuangcos of our mass transport system. Tomorrow, the strike will continue. Duterte also can only expect bigger strikes and protests until he junks his anti-poor phase-out scheme.” Labog said. ###