DAVAO CITY – Transport group Transport Solidarity in Southern Mindanao for Independence and Nationalism (TRANSMISION) an affiliate of Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide or PISTON and labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao jointly declared the transport strike a resounding success, claiming 90% paralyzation of public transportation in Davao City. Similar transport strikes launched in Panabo City and Tagum, Davao del Norte by jeepney and tricycle drivers were also declared a success, paralyzing 70% of public transportation.
The October 16 nationwide transport strike, which began at 4:00 in the morning here in Davao City, was formally declared successful in a press conference called around 4:00 in the afternoon. However, the fight is not over yet, as far as the organizers and participating groups are concerned.
According to Ricardo Baron, spokesperson of TRANSMISION-PISTON, the success of the strike even bolsters the need to conduct more mass actions and strikes in the future.
The transport leader saluted and congratulated all the drivers, operators and commuters who supported the strike, despite the national administration’s counter-mobilization efforts suspending work and classes on all levels and public offices and demonizing the groups involved.
“We know that the work and class suspensions, even the malicious tagging of the strike as “destabilization attempts” were aimed at deterring the strike but it proved to be an act of futility. In the end, even in Duterte’s home city, not even a national holiday can contain the people’s growing rage against the jeepney phaseout which will be the death of the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of drivers. The Duterte administration must listen.”, Baron added.
The transport leader said that drivers and operators in the Southern Mindanao Region overwhelmingly oppose the PUV Modernization Program and the Department Order 2017-11 or Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation and Franchise Insurance.
In Davao City, the group is likewise opposing the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) which will replace the jeepneys plying the city’s thoroughfares as pushed by Mayor Sara Duterte..
The groups said that the HPBS is a double whammy to the drivers and operators because aside from the phasing-out of their present jeepney units through the HPBS, jeepneys in the city will be relegated to the routes in interior barangays and will no longer be allowed the ply the main roads and thoroughfares in the city.
Kilusang Mayo Uno – SMR also called on workers and commuters in the region to resist the corporatization and monopolization of the transportation industry.
Carl Antholy Olalo, secretary general of KMU-SMR, encouraged the commuting public to study further the real intentions behind the modernization program, saying that the promises of the modernization program are nothing but lies.
“The PUV Modernization Program of President Duterte and the High Priority Bus System of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, are presented as modernization projects which will have trickle-down benefits to commuters but are really pro-capitalist projects which will benefit industry giants Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, General Motors and other foreign companies. The rich will get richer while our drivers and operators will be out of jobs,” the labor leader added.
“Participating in the strikes is an opportunity for us to show social solidarity with workers in public transportation. We would also like to register to the public that future transport strikes will be conducted again by the drivers and operators to oppose the City Government/Mayor Inday Sara’s plan to implement the HPBS and we seek the public’s consideration and support,” said Olalo.
Carl Anthony Olalo
Secretary-General, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao