Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treňas recently announced the cancellation of classes on Monday, September 30, due to an expected transport strike. All levels, both public and private, are affected.
“On Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, there will be no classes at all levels both private and public due to the transport strike. This is to minimize the inconvenience to the riding public especially the students,” the mayor stated in a Facebook post.
Piston and the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations have already expressed their desire to stage a general transport strike on Monday to protest the government’s ‘public utility vehicle modernization program’. The Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program, launched in 2017, was spearheaded by the Department of Transportation in a bid to improve the country’s public transportation system through efficient and environmentally safe.
The program aims to phase out public transportation vehicles – jeepneys, buses, and other public utility vehicles – that are 15 years and older, and replace it with Euro 4 compliant vehicles. The program also cites the inclusion of CCTV cameras, panta transportation payment terminal, speed limiters, and GPS monitors.
Several transport groups criticized the move as ‘anti poor’. According to the Land Bank of the Philippines, each jeepney replacement ranges from Php 1.4M to 1.6M. However, when on a payment period of 7 years at a 6% interest rate per annum, one jeepney may actually cost around Php 2M.
Transport groups have already expressed that small time operators could not possible afford new jeepney units and are afraid that corporate entities might monopolize the industry.
For Monday’s strike, the Department of Transportation has warned operators of the consequences should they will join the strike. The government entity has also reached out to local government to help affected commuters.