Starex vows more transport strikes

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Jeepney drivers and operators try to persuade other jeepney drivers to go on strike. The strikers gathered underneath the flyover at the intersection of Don Apolinar Velez St and the National Highway on Monday, March 19, holding up placards to protest the planned jeepney phase out of the government. (Naz Ubanan)

A PROGRESSIVE transport group vowed to mobilize more drivers and launch further transport strikes until the government rescinds its move to phase out jeepneys through the transport modernization program.

Members of the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao (Starex) and the No to Jeepney Phase Out Coalition have taken a break from plying the city streets as they joined the nationwide transport strike on Monday, March 19.

The group said transportation in Cagayan de Oro City had been 70 percent paralyzed around 8:30 a.m., even as the jeepneys were normally back on the streets around 12:00 noon.

Drivers and operators were urged to participate the 8-hour transport strike which started 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The group made rounds of visit at the different terminals to inform the public on the effect of the jeepney phase out.

The group culminates the activity around 3:00 p.m. where representatives of the different sectors have sympathized and shared the same sentiments against the jeepney phase out.

Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston secretary general, said the strike aims to show the government that the transport sector needs rehabilitation instead of jeepney phase out.

"Lauman nga mas subsob ang himoong strike hangtod nga dili maminaw ang gobyerno ug padayon niyang ihungit ang mga minilyon nga mga unit (More strikes are expected until the government heeds to our call),"Lago said.

The group maintains that they are up for genuine modernization through rehabilitation, contrary to the plan of the government that would eventually kill the livelihood of drivers and operators.

Other transport organizations under the National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU)-Northern Mindanao, however, ignored the so-called “Transport pahulay.”

NCTU-Northern Mindanao regional director Joel Gabatan said they snubbed the Piston-initiated strike because they do not share the same position over the issue.

Gabatan said they favor the phasing out of jeepneys but with conditions that the government must compensate all affected drivers and operators.

He said there are jeepneys that obviously need to be phased out.

"Dili mi moduyog pero gisuportahan nato sila kay managlahi among baruganan sa Starex kay kami uyon mi pero naay kondisyon nga mabayran ang mga apektado kay nakita nato nga duna gyud angay na nga i-phase out (We did not join because we favored the jeepney phase out in a condition that affected drivers and operators must receive just compensation from the government)," Gabatan said.


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