By LITO RULONA
THE regional director of the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board here accused militant groups like Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno and Kadamay of being behind the public transport stike that crippled jeepney operations in the city for hours as of yesterday morning.
Cagayan de Oro City Police Office spokesperson Senior Insp. Marvie Hostillosa said the strike paralyzed some 75 percent of public transportation in the city.
But he said there were other factors. “Daghan pud wala mibiyahe kay wala ma’y trabaho og eskwela. Mao nga medyo mingaw gyud ang kadalanan,” he said.
The Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide earlier said the public transport strike would be staged for two days, starting yesterday.
Aminodin Guro, LTFRB director for Region 10, said Starex-Piston was not alone, and that behind it were groups like Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno and Kadamay.
“Ang labor groups man and other caused-oriented group ang nag-strike. Ang transport group was only invited to join the protest action on the streets,” said Guro.
He said the LTFRB has started identifying jeepney operators who joined in the strike for possible sanctions.
LTFRB and city hall sought the help of the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. and other bus firms to help bringing stranded public commuters to their destinations. Guro said at least seven buses were deployed.
The capitol deployed some of its vehicles to offer stranded commuters free rides in Misamis Oriental, said provincial disaster risk reduction and management officer Fernando Dy.
But the impact of the strike was cushioned because Malacanang suspended government work and classes in public schools.
“Ang mga tawo man ang nag-strike kay wala man manglakaw kay wala may trabaho og eskwela as declared by President Rodrigo Duterte. Nagpahulay man halos tanan,” he said.
Francisco Pagayaman, regional coordinator of Kadamay, said a number of public transport groups here did not take part in the strike, the reason why there were still jeepneys on the road.
“Although dunay nag-uban sa transport pahulay pero daghan gyud ang nagpabuta-bungol sa among panawagan pero lahi gyud sa normal nga dagan,” Pagayaman said.
He said President Duterte’s decision to suspend government work and classes in schools only meant that the grievances and concerns of jeepney drivers have been noted.
The Palace ordered the suspension of classes in all levels and government work yesterday “to minimize public inconvenience” arising from the nationwide transportation strike to protest the planned phaseout of old public utility jeepneys so as to address traffic congestion and the growing need for mass transport system.
Under the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines of the Department of Transportation, protesters said 200,000 jeepneys in the country would be replaced with newly built jeepneys which are solar or electric-powered and Euro-4 compliant engines, manufactured by big companies such as General Motors and Chrysler.
Under the new guidelines, jeepney operators would only be issued a franchise if they have a minimum of 10 jeepneys and provide their own terminals while the spare parts will be exclusively purchased from the manufacturers.
Protesters lamented that the program was designed to “monopolize and corporatize further” the public transport system in the country. (with reports from mindanews)