Editorial: Transport strike

THE Transport of Southern Mindanao for Solidarity, Independence and Nationalism (Transmision-Piston) is spearheading a transport strike today to protest against the proposed House Bill 4334, also known as the “Traffic Crisis Act of 2016 Maki-isa, Makisama, Magka-isa,” Transmision-Piston said the bill "will have a negative impact on the part of jeepney operators."

"We will also protest against Department Order 2016, which contains the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, which dictates the scrapping of public utility vehicles (PUVs) and the trip management scheme which puts power to big operators in handling modernized units," Transmision-Piston-Davao spokesperson Edwin Fernandez said.

While we respect the group's rights to express their opinions, it is sad to note that those who will be greatly affected by their strike are the commuters.

Though there will still be public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who will still operate today, the PUVs available on the streets are not enough to cater the entire city.

Thus, it was good news when Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio announced the suspension of classes in all levels today. It was also good news when Malacañang announced the suspension of work in most government offices.

To ease commuters' worries, the city government of Davao also provided alternative transport options.

"The City Government of Davao will deploy buses to assist passengers. Let us all take this opportunity to observe the streets with fewer jeepneys and more buses as envisioned in the High Priority Bus System project for the Dabawenyos,” the mayor said in a statement.

While the group stages the strike, the city government is doing its best to meet the needs of commuters.

Government, however, cannot just shrug off the plight of the PUJ drivers. They, too, need to be heard.

We hope though that a dialogue between government and jeepney drivers' associations will result to a win-win solution for everybody.

Commuters, after all, deserve a better public transport system, be it a high priority bus system in the short to medium term or a rail system in the long run.

Lastly, we also call on the group to stage their strike peacefully and not cause further inconvenience to the public.
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