Protest looms vs 'anti-driver' practices and laws-A A +A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
A PROTEST action is looming if the government continues to ignore on taking actions on what Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Region X–Pinagkaisan Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operation Nationwide (Starex-Piston) calls “anti-driver” practices and laws.
Ringo Lago, secretary-general of Starex-Piston, said the protest action will be held nationwide to address the concerns of public utility vehicle drivers and operators.
One of these, Lago said, is the practice of the two bus companies undercharging their Cagayan de Oro-Iligan route.
The regular fare for this route should be P170 but the bus companies, Rural Transit Mindanao, Inc. and Super 5, asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Central Office to reduce the fare in light of typhoon Sendong in 2011.
“While we are thankful for that, we think that helping the Sendong survivors is not really their intent. We think the fare reduction is the bus companies’ way of competing with each other,” Lago told Sun.Star Monday afternoon.
Lago said Starex-Piston sought the intervention of the LTFRB-Northern Mindanao regarding this but the regional director, Mandangan Darimbang, told them only the LTFRB Central Office can act on their complaint.
This scheme, Lago said, has hurt the income of jeepney and van drivers plying the same route.
Not only that, Lago said, the two bus companies are even offering “special promos” to their passengers by giving a free ride to one person to a group of three passengers, or two free rides to a group of five passengers.
“This has really affected the jeepney and van drivers as more people now choose to take the bus due to lower fare and promo,” he said.
If this will go on for a long time, Lago said, most of these drivers will lose their means of livelihood.
Lago furthered the group has also reiterated their call to scrap the Oil Deregulation law and for legislators to prioritize House Bill 255 filed by the “Makabayan Bloc” at Congress.
If passed into law, the proposed bill will repeal the Oil Deregulation Law and will ensure other reforms in the oil industry, such as giving back government control of Petron fuel company, implementation and centralized procurement of “Oil Buffer Fund” and the creation of Petroleum Regulatory Council.
The bloc is composed of representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, and Terry Ridon of Kabataan.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 20, 2013.