PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s paranoid accusation that striking jeepney drivers and their supporters are committing rebellion, and his decision to phaseout all public utility jeepneys (PUJs) by next year, put large segments of the public at great risk of harassment, penury and even death.
By categorically declaring that the recent two-day transport strike against the government’s jeepney modernization program by jeepney drivers and their supporters was an act of rebellion, Duterte is, in effect, declaring a legitimate exercise of a constitutional right illegal.
This sets a dangerous precedent in that similar exercises of the right to assemble and seek redress may also be considered as acts of rebellion by the Executive and his cohorts.
Duterte’s paranoid rant not only sends a chilling effect on the public but is a frontal attack on our civil and political rights.
It might be taken by his rabid supporters as a go-signal to file harassment cases against protesters, engage in political persecution or worse, spur state security forces and state-backed vigilante groups to target the opposition and government critics.
By arbitrarily announcing that all PUJs will be phased out by next year, Duterte has scrapped the original 3-5 year phaseout period proposed by proponents of the modernization program.
This unrealistic timetable is ridiculous and oppressive in the light of the many valid issues and concerns raised by the drivers regarding the phaseout - from the exorbitant prices of the replacement jeepney units, the high financing rates to be charged, to the multi-billion foreign corporate agenda behind the program.
Worse, Duterte’s expedited phaseout puts 650,000 jeepney drivers, operators and their families at great risk of losing their livelihood by next year, leading to their further impoverishment.
But, then again, as the President himself said in his speech, he doesn’t care: “Mahirap kayo? Putang ina. Magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom. Wala akong pakialam.”
Duterte’s dangerous and insensitive tirades against his critics, especially the poor, are the latest acts of tyranny committed by the highest official of the land. Duterte should apologize to the jeepney drivers for his illegal and insensitive remarks and immediately take back his statements and his plan to force his expensive modernization program down our throats.--Movement Against Tyranny
That parked Hybrid Train
The Hybrid Train that has not been used for sometime now should be modified so that it can reverse and run in the opposite direction without making a U-turn.
Since this is driven by electric motors, this suggestion can be easily done. It can be used between ParkMall in Mandaue City and SM Seaside City in Cebu City with stops at SM City-Cebu and Robinson’s Galleria--09173218126
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 20, 2017.
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