Transport and labor groups are set to stage a nationwide strike on Monday and Tuesday next week, October 16 and 17, to protest the Public Utility Jeepney Phaseout program that would affect hundreds of thousands of drivers and operators.
George San Mateo, national president of transport alliance Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON), said they are opposing the program, which was endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“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,” San Mateo said in a statement.
Joining PISTON in the call are Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and other transport and commuters’ groups under the No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition.
In Pampanga, Anti-Jeepney Phaseout Coalition spokesperson Bong Meneses said around 8,000 PUJs are expected to join the strike.
In light of the transport strike, several local government units and institutions have announced class suspension on Monday, October 16, including:
- Makati City – All levels, public and private schools
- Pampanga – Pre-school to senior high school, public and private schools
- San Fernando City, Pampanga – Pre-school to college, public and private schools
- Davao City – All levels, public and private schools
Jeepney phaseout program
KMU said the PUJ phaseout program would negatively impact the livelihood of over 6,000 drivers and operators nationwide.
The phaseout program, to be implemented by the Transportation Department, will start on January 2018, and will force drivers and operators to purchase at least ten new PUJ units costing over P1.6 million each.
The units will then be operated under a fleet management scheme run by transport companies. Fare collection will be through the use of Beep cards, which are currently being used in the country’s Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit systems.