THE Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston)-Baguio is assessing their next move after staging a citywide strike in opposition to the government’s plan to phase-out 15-year old jeepneys.
Lito Wayas, President of Piston-Baguio explained that based on their unification meeting of the Baguio-Benguet Movement Against Jeepney Phaseout, they decided to join the nationwide rally return to normal operations Tuesday despite the nationwide two -day nationwide "Tigil Pasada" strike.
"Although government suspended classes and work the past two days, we had at least the opportunity to express our grievance to the government in its plan to phase out our jeepneys and to change it with new but costly public transport vehicles", Wayas said.
Instead of expressing their grievance in front of the Department of Transportation and Railways Regional Office in the city, the transportation organization proceeded to the People's Park.
Based on the proposed implementing rules of the modernization by government, operators having vehicles 15 years and above would be subjected to a phase-out and in return, have a public a transport vehicle amounting from 1.3 to 1.6 million.
Wayas pointed out: "The proposed loan offered by government amounting to a daily payment of 800 pesos for seven years would not be possible since we jeepney operators of Maria Basa in Baguio City have a daily boundary of 500 pesos only, where then would we get the additional 300 pesos when we need to prioritize the needs of our families."
The lead convener stated that if the phase out pushes through, it will lead to a few capitalist individual operators having the capacity to avail of such modern public transport vehicles, resulting for them to dictate the transport fair and not by the regulatory agency.
He stressed "If these individual capitalist operators would have the opportunity to have a hand in dictating the fair rates, then it would be a monopoly wherein it would only favor a few and not the majority of the members of the transport sector".
The 120 member transport organization in Baguio and Benguet have asked government to favor their call of maintaining their respective public transport vehicles based on the registration requirements being implemented by the Land Transportation Office instead of availing with the proposed jeepney phase-out.
The group Kababaihan, Kabataan & Association of Concerned Teachers were with the transport sector’s opposition to the phase out.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on October 18, 2017.
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