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Philippines: Jeepney Drivers Launch Strike

Jeepney drivers in many parts of the Philippines did not ply their routes today to protest oil price increases which they branded as “unwarranted”, “unchecked” and “oppressive”.

Manila Jeepney
A Jeepney in Manila (from Wikipedia)

The jeepney drivers group PISTON declared the strike a success, with the government saying it did not affect traffic.

Bloggers took note of the strike in their own way:

Highway 53 complained about the cancellation of an orchestra practice at the University of the Philippines and noticed few jeeps serving students.

Writing passionately in Filipino, as if in a dream tells how she managed to go to the University of Santo Tomas only to find out that the administration cancelled classes at 3:00 pm. The blogger said she was able to get a seat in a “free bus” courtesy of the university and enjoyed the ride with other Thomasians.

Val Makasiar MD complains to Piston about jeepney drivers who cut their trips.

Another student-blogger, some grape juice for new year's day, also managed to get a ride and also found out belatedly about cancelled classes. The blogger hopes:

Sana, kung anuman kahantungan ng strike na yan, makakabuti sa bayan, hindi lang sa malalaking kumpanya. Sayang naman ang paghihirap ng mga Pilipino kung iba rin ang makikinabang.

Whatever is the outcome of the strike, I hope it is for the good of the country and not of the big companies. The efforts of suffering Filipinos will go to waste if others will be the ones to benefit.]

Aude Sapere does not mince words for what he dubs as “Piss-ton”:

These jeepney drivers, who did nothing but pollute the environment, break traffic laws, cause too much heavy traffic, and hike up transport fares, are protesting the series of increases in oil prices. Too bad the only affected party is the average Filipino commuter, who are mostly students and employees.

For every diligent student that was forced to absent themselves from their classes, for every workman who lost his daily wage today, for all the kids in grade school who were forced to walk a couple of kilometers to school, for each and every grim story this strike has caused, I curse you PISTON.

Elsewhere, i.am.bliss tries to understand the jeepney drivers’ and consumers’ situation:

Hindi mo masisisi ang mga tsuper. Ang ginawa nilang tigil-pasada ang natatanging paraan para maiparating nila sa pamahalaan ang kanilang hinaing

We cannot blame the drivers. The strike was their way of informing the government of their grievances.

Ang linggo-linggong pagtataas ng gasolina ay damang-dama ng mga tsuper. Sa pamilya namin, meron kaming anim na sasakyang pinatatakbo ng gasolina

Drivers suffer from the weekly oil price hikes]

The bloggers adds:

Bilang isang pasahero, hassle nga naman na ma-late sa pupuntahan… Trabaho, eskwela, gimik, atbp. Pero isipin mo, one-time hassle lang ‘to eh. Yung pinaglalaban ng mga tsuper, ng mga kasapi ng PISTON, yung kanilang isinisigaw, ang dahilan ng malawakang tigil-pasda… kaya nila yun ginagawa dahil merong mas malubhang problema, mas masama kesa sa ilang beses kang mahuhuli sa trabaho mo. Kung walang tigil-pasada, aakalain ng administrasyong Arroyo na okey lang tayo sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis. Sa pamamagitan ng jeepney strike, naipahatid ang pag-resist, pagtuligsa…

As a commuter, it was really a hassle. It is really inconvenient that we get late going to our destinations… Work, school, gimmicks, etc. But think about it: This is just a one-time hassle. What the drivers are fighting for, the members of PISTON, what they are shouting, are the reasons why there's a big strike… there's a bigger reason why they launched a strike, many of times worse than you're being late in your work. If there were no strike, the government will think that we don't care about oil price increases. Through the jeepney strike, we were able to send the message that we resist and we condemn…]

Well said!

Also read: Lessons from PISTON's successful transport strike

3 comments

  • […] head to Global Voices Online for my blog roundup on Thursday’s transport strike against the madness of unwarranted oil price […]

  • I’ve come a long way from the days I myself joined these kind of activities.

    I’m sympathetic with the drivers and the organizers of the transport strikes. However, I can’t help but comment (like I did in MLQ3’s blog) that public opinion is generally against it:

    …one of the perennial problems facing transport strike organizers is the difficulty in explaining to the greater public of the validity of their avowed causes (raising minimum fare because of oil price hikes) and the action they are pursuing to achieve them (going on strike).

    As can be seen from the responses listed in this blog post, there is a great disconnect between the striking drivers and the public who see the paralysis of the transportation system (partial or otherwise) as a great inconvenience.

    Despite all the posturing, in the game of perception, the organizers of the strike are at the losing end. Strike or no strike, the minimum fares will still be increased sooner or later.

  • axisOfjustice

    kaya nagkaka ganito ang ating bansa ng dahil sa malaki ang pakinabang ng gobyerno sa malalaking companies lalo ang oil companies. kaya tayong mahihirap binabalewala nila! ano naman tayo sa kanila? kung kikita sila ng limpak limpak na pera sa ibat ibang companies. kaya imbis hindi maisip ng maka masang pinoy na kunin na tayo ng america eh ng dahil sa mga pinag gagawa ng walang kwentang pamahalaan na yan eh parang un nalang ang last choice natin para maramdaman naman ang kaginhawaan kahit ibang bansa na ang hahawak satin. maraming ibang alternatibong paraan para maibsan ang problema ng bayan, pero ano? gagawa ng solusyon ang gobyerno kung para satin man un eh alm nilang makikinabang sila..lintik talaga noh? kaya sana PAKIUSAP ko lang sa mga totoong pilipinong naninidigan para sa ating bansa na sana sa susunod na election ay mamili tayo ng nararapat na uupo bilang taga pamahala ng ating bansa, hindi ung iboboto lang natin sila ng dahil meron din itong pang sariling pakinabang satin..

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