Piston declares transport strike a ‘major success’ after dialogue with Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) on Wednesday declared that their transportation strike was a “major success” following a dialogue with Malacañang.
“Sa lakas ng epekto ng Transport Strike, na-obliga ang Malacañang na harapin ang Piston at Manibela,” it said in a statement.
(With the impact of the transport strike, Malacañang was forced to face Piston and Manibela.)
Piston, one of the largest transportation groups in the country, and Manibela, a coalition of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators, launched a strike on Monday, March 6. It was set for a week until the two groups had a meeting with government officials in Malacañang on Tuesday night and decided to end the strike on Wednesday.
During the dialogue in Malacañang, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. pledged to review the jeepney modernization program, according to Manibela.
Manibela and its affiliate organizations staged their strike to register their strong opposition to the planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys.
However, Mar Valbuena, chair of Manibela, on Wednesday explained that they support the government’s objective to provide comfortable and safe public transportation to Filipino commuters and only want the program to be inclusive and reasonable.
Piston leader Mody Floranda, meanwhile, said that during the meeting in Malacañang, they demanded the cancellation of Department of Transportation Department Order 2017-011 Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) and the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
“Bunsod ng ating malapad na pagkakaisa at sama-samang pagkilos, natulak ang Malacañang na mangakong pag-aaralan o ire-review ang mga nilalaman ng OFG hanggang Disyembre 31, 2023. Sa isasagawang review, nangangako rin silang magiging bahagi ng buong proseso ang mga tsuper, operator, at komyuter,” said Piston.
(Due to our broad and united action, Malacañang was pressed to promise to study or review the contents of the OFG until December 31, 2023. During the review, they also promised that drivers, operators, and commuters will be part of the entire process.)
“Bagama’t hindi pa ito ganap a pagbasura sa OFG at programang phaseout, panimulang tagumpay pa rin tong maituturing dahil naitulak nating tumugon ang Malacañang at napatunayan natin ang bisa at lakas g ating sama-samang pagkilos,” it added.
(Although this is not yet a complete cancellation of OFG and the phaseout program, it can still be considered an initial success because we have pushed Malacañang to respond, and we have proven the effectiveness and strength of our collective action.)
Piston, in the same statement, called on President Marcos to release the protesters who were arrested during the transport strike.
The group likewise reiterated its commitment to demand the junking of the OFG and the PUVMP despite this development.
“Pansamantala lamang nating ititigil ang transport strike at patuloy na ilalaban ang ating mga panawagan,” said Piston.
(We will only temporarily stop the transport strike and continue to fight for our calls.)
“Hangga’t hindi dinidinig ang panawagan natin na ipabasura ang OFG, at nagpapatuloy ang pagpapahirap sa mga tsuper at mamamayan, hindi tayo mangingiming maglunsad ng mas malalaking tigil pasada! Tuloy-tuloy ang laban!” it added.
(As long as our call to scrap the OFG is not heard, and the misery of drivers and citizens continues, we will not hesitate in launching a bigger transport strike! The fight continues!)
Around 40,000 PUVs were initially expected to join the transport strike from March 6-12. Piston claimed that even after only two days, the strike managed to paralyze 80 percent of Metro Manila and 100 percent of its major roads.