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PISTON pushes through with 3-day strike; LTFRB says no disruption so far

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) on Monday pushed through with its three-day transport strike to protest the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.

In the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela) area alone, around 8,000 to 10,000 jeepney drivers are expected to participate in the transport strike, according to James Agustin's report on Unang Balita.

“Saan kami tutungo? Saan kami pupulutin sa 2024? Kaya napapanahon para pumosisyon at manindigan ang mga driver at operators para sa pangkabuhayan at kalagayan pang-ekonomiya ng kani-kanilang pamilya,” PISTON deputy secretary general Ruben Baylon said.

(Where are we going in 2024? It is time for drivers and operators to take a stand for the livelihood and financial situation of their families.)


At 5 a.m., some members of PISTON gathered in EDSA-Caloocan and marched to Monumento.

Around 550 protesters gathered in 12 different areas as of 10 a.m., according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

A total of 66 buses from the MMDA, Office of the Vice President, Office of the House Speaker, and local government units have been dispatched to accommodate affected commuters.

“We can categorically say hindi naman naparalisa iyong pampublikong transportasyon base po sa aming tala (that the strike did not paralyze the public transportation based on our monitoring),” MMDA chairperson Romando Artes said in a press conference.

No disruption

Interviewed on Unang Balita, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III said there is no disruption of transportation so far due to the strike.

“I give you the assurance na as of this time wala pong akong ramdam na disruption po (that as of this time I did not monitor any disruption),” he said.

Guadiz said the areas that were slightly affected by the transport strike were Novaliches, Pasig, and a portion of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

The government has deployed buses to accommodate the affected commuters, he added.

For her part, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo said the conduct of the protest in the National Capital Region (NCR) has been peaceful so far as of 1 p.m.

“Relatively peaceful so far ang transport strike sa NCR. More or less close to 600 po ang na-monitor na nagprotesta in different locations sa NCR. No untoward incident reported so far as of 1 p.m.,” she told reporters in a message.

(The transport strike in NCR has been relatively peaceful. More or less 600 protesters have been monitored in different areas in NCR. No untoward incident has been reported so far as of 1 p.m.)

Early morning trips

Some jeepney drivers, meanwhile, made a few trips before participating in the strike to ensure they have enough money for their families' needs for the day.

Some of them told GMA Integrated News that they are planning to borrow money from neighbors for the meantime and pay them once their operations resume.

“Maraming magugutom talaga sa panahong ito kapag tinanggal ang hanapbuhay na ito. Kagaya naming may edad na, paano makakapag-apply sa ibang trabaho niyan?” jeepney driver Ernesto Bidaures said.

(Many will go hungry this time if they remove this livelihood. For those of us who are already old, how can we apply for other jobs?)

Another jeepney driver, Nepomuceno Ilagan, lamented the steep price of modernized jeepneys. “Maganda nga na hindi ito ma-phase out kasi iyong ipinapalit nila, mahal iyon,” he said.

(It would be good if traditional jeepneys would not be phased out because the modernized ones are expensive.)

Some commuters traveled early while jeepneys were still operating. Despite the inconvenience, commuter Rudy Poloyapoy expressed support for the transport strike.

“Medyo hassle pero wala tayong magagawa kasi iyon ang gusto nila para mabago naman,” he said.

(It is quite an inconvenience but we cannot do anything because this is what drivers and operators want to achieve change.) —KBK/KG/RSJ, GMA Integrated News