Transport strike: Why pick on jeepneys to fix traffic problems?

'Attack on poor drivers'

Francisco Pagayaman, chairman of the urban poor group Kadamay in Northern Mindanao, said the planned disposal of outmoded PUJs would deprive drivers and operators of their livelihood.

“It is an attack on the poor drivers and operators? while the capitalists will benefit from it. The P7 million franchising fee is practically not affordable,” Pagayaman said.

Anakbayan commended jeepney drivers and operators "for their strike that brings back to national consciousness the issue of public mass transport."

It added, "Piston and other participants in today's strike deserve our full support for showing the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Department of Transportation as the agency in charge of public mass transport."

Anakbayan continued, "This is an agency that is quick to police the ranks of jeepney drivers, but is quiet about Uber and Grab surges, accidents involving big bus fleets, abuses by airlines, malpractices by big taxi operations, and outright deception by MRT and LRT consortia."

ROAMING TRIKES. Tricycles roam around the main thoroughfare in Legazpi City as jeepney drivers launched a regionwide transport strike. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

ROAMING TRIKES. Tricycles roam around the main thoroughfare in Legazpi City as jeepney drivers launched a regionwide transport strike. Photo by Rhaydz B.

Barcia/Rappler

The Kabataan group, for its part, said that they are not against modernization, but corporations, and not the drivers and operators, stand to benefit from it.

“The drivers have been suffering every time there is an increase in fuel prices due to the Oil Deregulation policy of the government. This jeepney phaseout will be a massacre for them,” said Vennel Chenfoo of Kabataan.

Chenfoo also said once corporations take control of public transportation, it will burden the ordinary people.

In a separate statement, the League of Filipino Students echoed the call to put forward national industrialization in the country. It urged the government to support the small and individual jeepney drivers and operators by providing assistance instead of putting them in a commercialized scheme. – with reports from Rhaydz Barcia and Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.com