Successful Feb. 27 jeepney strike just the first, unless. . .
The nationwide transport strike last Feb. 27, led by the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Union (NCTU) and Piston, was a rousing success, practically paralyzing public transport in many areas in the National Capital Region and other key cities and municipalities around the country, where NCTU affiliates operate: Mandaluyong—95 percent; Cavite (all transportation going in and out of GMA)—100 percent; (Batangas) Mataas na Kahoy—80 percent, Lipa City—60 percent, Balite—90 percent, Rosario—70 percent.
In Iloilo province, public transport going to Iloilo City from all southern municipalities—100 percent; in the rest of the island—95 percent.
In Cebu province, Danao City—90 percent; Naga City—80 percent.
In Cagayan de Oro, NCTU routes—100 percent; the rest of the city—80 percent.
In Iligan City, all northern routes—100 percent; southern routes—95 percent.
We went on strike to send a simple message: The modernization of the transport sector should not be carried out at the expense of half a million drivers and operators.
Unless concrete measures that would ensure a just transition for the transport workers are implemented, we would be forced to hold more protest actions.
The NCTU assailed the draft order of the Department of Transportation because that would definitely dislocate 99 percent of all transport workers. The DOTr plans to require a minimum capital of P7 million for a franchise of 10 units to be granted. The DOTr knows
that under this condition, less than 1 percent of the transport workers would be able to get a franchise.
To mitigate the dislocation of transport workers, the NCTU is asking for a five-year moratorium on the phaseout of PUJs while a nationwide lease-to-own program is being implemented; this would allow PUJ operators to shift to new engines.
The NCTU is also calling for a stop to the importation of second-hand vehicle engines, and demanding that public funds be allocated for the local development of electric or hybrid engines suitable to the needs of transport workers.
This transport workers’ issue was discussed in the labor dialogue with President Duterte. The President was reported to have made the commitment to hold a dialogue with the striking workers.
ERNIE CRUZ, chair, National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Union
NICE S. CORONACION, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa
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