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Protest Is Not To Disrupt But To Be Heard

by Nimfa Estrellado
October 5, 2019






I used to never understand the meanings behind strikes but looking at how local governments respond to it through school suspensions, are they listening? What we did is create a government to elect someone to represent us and listen to us but millions of people have to go on strikes so our voices are heard and action taken. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte promised the Filipino people that he would only get the ‘best and brightest’ for his government. I don’t know about you but seems like something just isn’t working.

There’s no denying it affects the daily routine of citizens but for those who benefit from these suspensions, how do we then understand the situation of the drivers and operators? And to think even the Department of Transportation (DOTr) threatens these operators whoever will participate will be removed from work. Dedicating their time to strike requires a day of not earning money for their economic status and it just means a lot to them.

This government seems to prioritize keeping people apart instead of creating a harmonious relationship with one another. Be it in LGBT rights, transportation strike or in politics as a whole.

National Transport Strike happened last September 30, 2019. The National Transport Strike fights against, the bogus traffic solutions of Department of Transportation (DOTr), the jeepney phaseout which gives way to corporate-owned Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) franchises, modernization that costs millions, the Oil Price Hike that will cause the widespread increase of the price of goods. They’re fighting for commuter and consumer rights as much as drivers’ rights.

I am for safe and comfortable transport. I am for crackdown for unsafe, old and dilapidated jeepneys. But the financial requirement for this modernization program is hefty and inconsiderate.

Celine Pialago, MMDA spokesperson said, “Baka kung sakali mag transport strike kayo ng isang taon baka sakali mag tagumpay ka. One day? Try Harder”.
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Pialago you do know that they succeeded in the transport strike, right? Class and work suspensions mean that without public transportation, we are immobilized.

How about trying to hear them out instead of saying this? Who is this Celine Pialago again and why is she the spokesperson for MMDA? Pialago, the transport sector needs our help not your cynicism. It is their right to strike, and if you don’t support their actions, at least let them be. As you say in your twitter banner, your commitment is to serve. Is this what you say to people you serve?

According to Renato Reyes Jr., chief of left-leaning group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, stressed that the low subsidy the drivers and operators will receive to pay for an expensive modern vehicle is seen as a burden.

Reyes explained that a new Class 1 unit costs P1.6 million. Gov’t equity will be 5% while interest per annum is 6% for 7 years. Paano mababayaran ito? Halos P20,000 ang kailangan kada buwan o mahigit P800 kada araw. Sa taas ng presyo ng gasolina, mamumulibi at mababaon sa utang amg mga tsuper bago makabayad ng amortization.

In voicing out my views on national issues, especially in my opposition for PUV Modernization program and some of government officials that has no concrete proposals to improve the program nor to take the government into a dialogue to thresh out concerns in a diplomatic manner.

Recent strike occured due to PUV Modernization program, drivers needs to purchase new jeepney that cost 1.8 million, make a loan and accrue interest. Globalization in a way spawns capitalism. It encourage only few to thrive and make rich richer and poor poorer. Somehow understood why modernization ain’t going to help at all because behind its expensiveness. It takes years before drivers recover from massive lost making their kids to suffer sacrificing education from indeed small wages and government inflation wars.

“Why not provide for the jeepney driver’s modernization?” says the actor Enchong Dee. Yes why not? Bio fuel is the way to go but unfortunately the systems don’t get as much as demand or market because the government are so focused on other forms of energy.

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