Piston Cebu won’t join national transport strike

Piston Cebu won’t join national transport strike
File photo

MEMBERS of transport group Piston’s chapter in Cebu will not join the two-day nationwide transport strike organized by its parent organization and Manibela.

The strike is scheduled to start on Monday, April 15, 2024, in protest of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), which has an upcoming deadline for traditional jeepney operators’ consolidation.

Greg Perez, leader of Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) in Cebu, said they will instead hold protests on major roads in Metro Cebu and outside the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 office in Cebu City.

After the protests, they will continue driving their traditional jeepneys and serving their routes, Perez told SunStar Cebu on Thursday, April 11.

Piston Cebu has over 500 drivers and operators as members.

“Padayon ang among paglaban sa mga kaigsonan drayber ug mga opereytor para sa pangkabuhayan... ug ang ilahang pamilya pud nga makulban unya og kaldero,” Perez said.

(We will continue to fight for our fellow drivers and operators, for their livelihoods... and their families who risk losing their income.)

Perez did not say why the local chapter would not join the strike, only saying that their protest action in Cebu is intended to support the strike in the capital.

Piston national president Mody Floranda remains opposed to the PUV consolidation policy that requires drivers/operators to join cooperatives to ensure the renewal of their franchises. This consolidation will later require the replacement of traditional jeepneys with modern units featuring Euro 4-compliant or electric engines to reduce pollution.

Piston Cebu has said its call to scrap the PUVMP remains, as the program forces traditional jeepney operators to not only give up their individual franchises and vehicles but also to buy, using debt, what he called imported, expensive, non-sustainable and frail vehicles, which the operators and drivers would now struggle to pay for.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. affirmed on Wednesday, April 10, that the April 30 deadline for PUV consolidation is final.

Marcos maintains that the PUVMP will not burden drivers and operators, as the National Government offers subsidies for those acquiring modern jeepneys.

The program provides drivers/operators with a government subsidy between P200,000 and P300,000 per vehicle and assists with bank financing.

Piston and Manibela previously held a transport strike in January over the same issue.

A modern PUV (MPUV) can cost around P2.7 million, which means that if acquired through government banks that provide a seven-year term for loans to purchase MPUVs, the monthly amortization would work out to around P30,000.

As of March 2024, the LTFRB Central Office reported, 80 percent of PUVs nationwide had complied with the consolidation policy.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo announced in a press conference at Camp Crame that the PNP is prepared to assist commuters affected by the transport strike. / EHP, TPM / SunStar Philippines


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