The planned two-day nationwide transport strike to protest the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program has been called-off by its organizers following the appeal of Senator Grace Poe for a dialogue.
The No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition led by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) announced in a press conference in Quezon City yesterday the “temporary” cancellation of their planned transport strike today and tomorrow.
“Pansamantala muna nating ipagpapaliban ang ating tigil-pasada sa Lunes at Martes upang mapaghandaan ang public Senate hearing na gagawin sa Huwebes, December 7, Piston president George San Mateo said.
San Mateo said that their group “welcomed and appreciated” Senator Poe’s invitation to call-off the strike for an urgent Senate probe into the government’s PUV modernization program as they will be able to air their concerns and present alternative means on the program.
He added that they aimed to junk the current modernization program and build a new one that is “pro-masses.”
San Mateo also called out Department of Transportation Ssecretary Arthur Tugade to attend the upcoming hearing for a proper discussion instead of “threatening” them.
Aside from making way for the upcoming public hearing, the transport group said that they are also preparing for a wider transport strike on January next year should the current modernization program push through after this week’s hearing.
Meanwhile, Malacañang remains hopeful that transportation groups would soon sit down with the government to talk about PUV transportation program.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the Palace welcomes PISTON’s decision to cancel its scheduled nationwide jeepney strike and hopes that this time, the group will listen to what the PUV modernization program has to offer.
“We remain optimistic that PISTON will soon engage with the government, and support the implementation of the long-delayed PUV Modernization Program, which only aims to provide our commuters a safer, more reliable, convenient, environment-friendly, and dignified commuting experience,” he said in a statement. (Alexandria San Juan and Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)