95% of Albay jeepney drivers, operators join transport strike
Jeepney drivers in Albay gather at the Penaranda Park in Legazpi City on October 16, 2018, as they hold a transport strike to protest the rerouting of jeepneys, the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, Oil Deregulation Law, and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. PHOTO by George Gio Brondial/Inquirer Southern Luzon
GUINOBATAN, Albay — Almost 95 percent of jeepney drivers and operators in Albay participated in the 24-hour transport strike, which paralyzed public transportation in the province on Tuesday.
Ramon Rescovilla, secretary-general of Concerned Drivers and Operators-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Condor-Piston) Bicol, said the strike was meant to protest the rerouting of jeepneys to and from Legazpi City, the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, the Oil Deregulation Law, and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
There was no planned transport strike outside Albay, but jeepney operators and drivers in the five other provinces in the Bicol region “actively participated in noise barrage,” Rescovilla told the Inquirer.
According to him, although some jeepney drivers were still seen plying the regular routes in the morning, “after talking to them, at around 1 p.m., the streets are totally paralyzed.”
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said the city felt the effects of the transport strike, but he said he respects the transport group’s decision to stage a protest.
“There were no jeeps, not even one. They really were united. We respect this because they are fighting for something,” Rosal told the Inquirer.
Classes in all levels were also suspended in the province while government trucks were deployed to help commuters.
Rescovilla said jeepney drivers also protested the newly implemented rerouting of jeepneys in the province, which drew the ire of both the commuting public and the transport sector.
He said the change not only reduced their income but also affects their services to commuters, especially the students.
Rescovilla said Rosal would summon the city’s traffic consultative council on Monday to talk to the transport groups. /ee
A jeepney in Albay carries a streamer from the protesters during the transport strike on October 16, 2018. PHOTO by George Gio Brondial/Inquirer Southern Luzon