DRIVERS in Mindanao did not join the transport strike because of the impact on their income as well as the failure of the organizers to reach out to local groups, a transport official in the city said.

Manuel Duran, South Eastern Mindanao Diversified Drivers Operators Cooperative (Semddoc) regional chair and 1-Utak (United Transport Koalisyon) vice president for Mindanao, said in a phone interview that organizers did not coordinate with his group.

“Walay coordinasyon sa amo diri ang sa national dili me member sa Piston; 1-Utak man mi wala. Sila mo coordinate,” Duran said. “Dili pud makaya sa among driver nga mag strike for 1 week,” Wala miapil sa Mindanao,” he added. 

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) XI Director Nonito Llaños III also confirmed that there was no transport strike in the city.

Even when they did not join the strike, some drivers have not been plying their routes, said Duran.  “Ubay ubay wala pud mudagan kay tungod sa kamahal (gasoline),” he added.

This developed as about 20 members of progressive groups also held a rally at the Freedom Park to protest the plan of government to phase out traditional passenger jeepneys

Major Marvin Hugos, commander of San Pedro Police Station, said the protesters were members of the Piston, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Anakbayan.

Under the LTFRB guidelines, traditional passenger jeepney drivers and operators have until the end of the year to join cooperatives so the can be granted provisional authority to operate their vehicles, or their franchises will not be renewed.

This developed as Vice President Sara Duterte lambasted those organizing the protest action as they also have become the challenge in the effort of the government to address the gaps in the education sector.

“May I reiterate — the transport strike is a painful interference in our efforts to address the learning gaps and other woes in our education system,” said Duterte, also the secretary of Education.

She added that the department opposes the protest action “because it is problematic, it will hurt our learners, and the inconvenience that it may cause comes with an enormous price deleterious to learning recovery efforts — and this is a price that learners will have to pay.”

She added the organizers – if they cannot understand, refused to understand, or pretend not to understand the government position- “this is only because of your unbelievable propensity to push a hardline agenda that punishes the general public.”

She added that the casualties of the protest actions are the teachers and the students because “the first failure of this transport strike is the failure to consider our learners and our teachers.”

She added the protest action was taken from the playbook of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, and the New People’s Army as “Piston is an organization with leaders and some members poisoned by the ideologies of the bankrupt” of these groups.

In the same breath, she added, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers is also “a group that is diametrically nowhere near in the service of the interest of the learners and the education sector,” she added.

“This is not red-tagging. This is a statement of fact,” she said.

She concluded: “The progress and future of our learners cannot be left to the whims of organizations acting on bare selfish motives.”


Source: Mindanao Times (