By NITZ ARANCON
THE National Confederation of Transport Unions won’t support or take part in the two-day public transportation sector strike being organized by the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide next week.
NCTU said it has a stake in the Duterte administration’s public transportation modernization plan: it has applied for registration with the Office of Transport Cooperatives.
Starex-Piston announced the other day that it would stage the two-day strike beginning Monday in an effort to pressure the Department of Transportation into taking back an order that gave the implementation of the modernization program in 2018 the go-ahead.
Joel Gabatan, NCTU vice chairman for Mindanao, said he doubted if the Starex-Pistol rally would win public support.
“Lama-lama man lang na sila. Magsolo-solo ra,” said Gabatan.
He said many public transport groups in the city do not share Starex-Piston’s position.
Gabatan said NCTU cannot support the strike because it cannot risk its registration as a transport cooperative.
“Kon mo-uban kani anang ilang transport srike, na di ma-cancel na hino-on ang among registration sa OTC,” he said.
Gabatan said that based on the public transport modernization program, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board would only grant franchises to public vehicle operators who are members of transport cooperatives, and companies.
“Kadtong individual operator, dili na,” said Gabatan.
Starex-Piston secretary general Ringo Lago said the strike would be carried out on Monday and Tuesday to oppose the government’s plan that is seen by his group as a move to phase out 15-year old or older public vehicles.
Lago said Starex-Piston also opposes DOTR Order 2017-11 that gave the green light to the implementation of the modernization program beginning January 2018.
Starex-Piston has been asking the government to implement a rehabilitation program instead of making public jeepney owners to upgrade to environment-friendly but expensive Euro 4 engines.