By LITO RULONA
MEMBERS of the National Confederation of Transport Unions (NCTU) here are afraid to take part in a planned nationwide public transport strike on Monday because the Duterte administration holds all the aces: their franchises.
Joel Gabatan, NCTU regional coordinator, said the group asked its member-drivers if they wanted to join the scheduled protest against the implementation of the Duterte administration’s public utility vehicle modernization program. Some members, he said, wanted the NCTU to take part in the strike but many also feared that the government would take their franchises away and they do not want to take the risk.
“Hadlok na sila nga tangtangan og franchise,” Gabatan said.
Many jeepney owners, he explained, have already formed cooperatives in line with the implementation of the modernization program.
“Nag-ingon pud ang uban nga jeepney operators nga ilang tangtangon ang ilang mga driver kung mo-apil sa transport strike,” he said.
Besides, said Gabatan, the organizers of Monday’s strike — the Alliance of Concerned Organizations (Acto), Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), and Stop and Go — are inactive here.
“Angayan man unta ubanan pero the leading protesting groups in the national level do not have a single member in Northern Mindanao. Naa man siguro ang uban pero inactive na og nagpahulay na sab,” Gabatan said.
In a press statement, Efren de Luna, Acto president, said the public transport sector strike is being organized because of “many questionable provisions” in the PUV modernization program.
The organizers have questioned the move to phase out the present public jeepneys in favor of new public transportation vehicles worth P2.5 million each. They said there were other 24-seat vehicles that would only cost them P1.3 million each.
Organizers also questioned the “complicated” financing scheme offered by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the numerous requirements.
“Personal gusto gyud ko mouban sa transport strike kay daghan provisions sa PUV Modernization Program nga kulang og mapurhisyo gyud mi kaayo kung ipatuman alang sa mga gagmay nga operator,” said Gabatan but added that the public transportation sector is divided.
He said one of his concerns is the acquisition of garages for the new vehicles which would mean acquiring lots which would be an additional burden to the cooperatives.