Some of the drivers in Laguna who joined the protest on Monday against jeepney modernization. (UNTV News)
MANILA, Philippines — Many passengers were stranded in various parts of Laguna due to the massive transport strike conducted by Southern Tagalog Region Transport Organization-Piston (Starter-Piston) on Monday.
Tricycles temporarily replaced jeepneys as a major mode of transportation in several parts of the province.
The local government also prepared free rides to stranded passengers.
According to Rolando Mingo, vice-president of the Southern Tagalog region transport sector, 90 percent of their members have joined the transport strike since five in the morning.
“Yung Euro 4 engine nila na sinasabi na nagkakahalaga ng P1.5 milion cannot be afford. Di kakayanin ng isang individual na driver operator na sinasabi. Pakinggan niyo Mr. President ang aming boses. Huwag niyo ituloy ang pag-aalis sa aming hanapbuhay. Tutol kami sa pekeng modernisasyon,” said Mingo.
(The Euro 4 engine that they are saying is worth P 1.5 million. We cannot afford it. An individual driver-operator cannot shoulder the cost alone. Mr. President, listen to our plea. Don’t push through with removing our livelihood. We oppose this fake modernization.)
Aside from Laguna, the transport strike was also held in Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
In Cebu City, Piston-Cebu and Bayan Central Visayas also conducted a protest.
The protesters called on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the planned phase-out of old public utility jeepneys.
The groups have expressed concern over the possible loss of jobs of many small-time operators and drivers should the government push through with the implementation of the said program.
“We are not against progress as long as everyone will benefit from it,” said Ronilo Gahator, the chapter leader.
Fifty individuals had joined the protest that ended peacefully and caused no inconvenience to the commuting public. — Joan Nano| UNTV News & Rescue