Piston calls off 2-day transport strike
Transportation group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) has decided to call off the two-day transport strike set on December 4 and 5.
Piston president George San Mateo announced on Sunday the cancellation of their strike to pave way to the Senate public service committee's hearing on the public utility vehicle modernization program on December 7.
But Mateo said they will instead conduct a protest caravan against the modernization program in Mendiola, Manila on Monday and another protest on Tuesday to condemn the criminal case filed against him by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
LTFRB filed a case against Mateo for allegedly violating the Public Service Act when he spearheaded another transport strike last February.
Mateo also dared Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to attend the public hearing this coming week.
"We will actively participate and we are challenging Secretary Tugade to attend the hearing since he didn't come last public hearing in the Congress," he said.
Senator Grace Poe, who chaired the Senate public service committee, said she would file a resolution on Monday to conduct a hearing that would address the issues of PUV drivers and operators alike.
"Their problems are not theirs alone, but that of the entire nation that depends on the kind of public transportation they offer," she said.
"Let us sit down and talk, and find ways to move forward with solutions that are socially just and feasible," she added.
The government has been pushing for the phaseout of 15 years old and over PUVs, including jeepneys, and to replace them with new and environment-friendly cars. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he did not want to see any old jeepneys plying the streets beginning January next year.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed Piston's decision to call off the nationwide jeepney strike.
Roque said the Palace remains optimistic that Piston would soon engage with the government and support the implementation of the long-delayed PUV modernization program.
He said the program only aims to provide a safer, more reliable, convenient, environment-friendly, and dignified commuting experience for the commuters.
He also clarified that there was no official announcement from the Office of the Executive Secretary regarding the suspension of classes and work.
Piston and other groups held in October two-day transport strike, prompting Malacanang to suspend classes and government work nationwide. Ella Dionisio/DMS