A TRANSPORT group in Cagayan de Oro City is threatening to launch a local transport strike and mount a series of protests against the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) 'Tanggal Bulok-Tanggal Usok' campaign which supposedly targets Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs).
The Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston) condemned the LTO-led campaign, saying the campaign kills the livelihood of the small-time drivers and operators.
Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston secretary general, said about 300 drivers have already been apprehended in the city since January.
The group said these drivers cannot get away with the supposed violations because authorities are setting Euro 4 standards as parameters from the accessories, lights, engine, among others.
"Unsaon paglusot sa mga drivers nga moabot man sa 60 points ang gibasehan sa ilang pagdakop. Ug bisan pag bag-o ang sakyanan walay makalusot kay ang gigamit nga parameters ang Euro 4 standards man," the group said in a statement.
(How can the drivers pass when they use the 60 points as basis for apprehension. And even if they use a new vehicle, no one will pass because they’re using Euro 4 standards as parameters)
"Unya kung wala gyuy makit-an lug-lugon pag kabilya ang tambutso para lang mobuga og itom nga aso," the statement added.
(And if they will not see anything, they will slit the exhaust pipe using a steel rod just so it will emit black smoke)
Lago said drivers issued with temporary operator’s permits (TOP) were only given three days to pay the corresponding penalties which range from P2,000 to P15,000.
Lago said jeepney drivers can hardly reach their boundaries how much more paying the said penalties.
"Maglisod man ganig kuha sa abang sa jeep ug buhi sa pamilya unsa pa kaha pagbayad sa penalty. Dili madugay daghan drivers ug operators ang mahimong 'criminal' tungod kay magtago-tago sa kadako sa ilang bayronon," Lago said.
(It is already difficult to earn the daily rent for the jeep and support the family, how much more paying the penalty. It won’t be long when drivers and operators will end up criminals because they will be hiding due to their mounting payables)
Lago said these operations made the drivers' plight more difficult despite the three year transition period given by the government before the transport modernization takes effect in 2021.
"Ang ilang gihimo is pagpang-ipit taliwala nga naay transition period nga 3 years pero karon pa lang gakabati na ang pugsanong pagsilhig sa mga PUJs bisan gani katong jeep nga wala pa kaabot sa 15 years," Lago added.
(What they’re doing is pushing us to the wall despite the required 3-year transition period. Right now, we experience the forcible cleansing of the PUJs including those who have not reached the 15-year requirement period)
Lago said the group is currently making rounds of consultations with transport organizations and a big forum is taking place to iron out a unified and collective move against these operations.
He said local transport strike and mass demonstrations are likely to happen. The group would also launch petition signing against these anti-poor and unjustifiable operations.
"Among gikondena kining transport 'MURDERnization (Modernization) sa gobyernong Duterte busa posible nga dunay ilusad nga mga protesta ug transport strike," Lago said.
(We condemn this transport “MURDERnization” of the Duterte administration so it’s possible we will launch protests and transport strike)