CEBU

Malilong: Strike

The Other Side

JEEPNEY drivers went on a nationwide strike yesterday supposedly to protest the government’s modernization program of public utility vehicles. An ABS-CBN report, however, quoted the president of one of the largest striking groups as saying that they’re not really opposed to modernization but to the seemingly endless requirements in order to be able to stay in the program. These requirements, he charged, were geared towards eventually phasing out the PUVs.

And they wanted to talk to President Rodrigo Duterte because he is the only one they could trust.

I do not know how successful the strike was in Cebu City and whether the estimated 200 drivers that were expected to join the protest action shared the same objective as their Manila counterparts as articulated by the transport group leader that ABS-CBN interviewed.

But it was business as usual in the morning. The courts did not find a reason to cancel their hearings and Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella saw no need to order the suspension of classes, confident that his contingency measures will work just in case.

In the past, similar transport strikes in Cebu stranded hundreds of commuters because the drivers disappeared from the roads after carrying passengers to their destinations early in the morning. Many of the participants joined the strike voluntarily, others were coerced and still others decided not to ply their routes because of the spikes and burning tires strewn on the road.

We haven’t had that kind of intimidation in recent years. Still, one is constrained to ask if the mind of the striker runs on the same frequency although on a lesser scale as that of the terrorist. Both do not care whether their victims have wronged them or not. The terrorist is angry with say, the United States government but he kills anyone he fancies. The same is true with the striker. He has an issue with government policy and suspects that some vested interests, abetted by government officials, are out to kill their only source of livelihood. And they punish the innocent public by striking.

And all that they wanted to achieve was secure an audience with the President? We still do not know how Duterte will respond to the unusually-made request. But listen to his spokesperson/chief lawyer, Salvador Panelo: “The Duterte administration will not be intimidated nor cowed by threats of protests and strikes coming from those who only think of their parochial interests.” If what Panelo said reflects the general thinking in the Palace, goodbye dialogue. And then what, back to the streets?

***

I had flu and pneumonia vaccination done simultaneously last Saturday by nurses of the City Health Department. I learned my lesson from the severe case of flu that I contracted in Xiamen.

I wonder if the parents who have ignored repeated pleas to have their children avail of the government’s immunization program have similarly learned theirs in the wake of reports on the apparent emergence of a few diseases like polio that have long been considered eradicated.

You can’t blame the parents for refusing inoculation for their children. Blame the publicity-hungry officials and politicians who rode on the Dengvaxia issue to get themselves on the six o’clock news and fanned mass hysteria by offering unsubstantiated personal opinions as medical facts.

Don’t listen to them, parents. They are as ignorant as you are. Trust only the medical professionals.


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