Buk’n Drivers, Commuters divided on the transport strike

MALAYBALAY CITY (September 19, 2011)- It was already around 8:00am, only about 20 multicab drivers have gathered at Plaza Rizal facing the highway, to join the national transport strike.

These group of protestors hands out leaflets to passing people and encouraging other passing multicab-drivers to join them.

Timothy Ajoc of the Bukidnon chapter of Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Region X  (STAREX) a local affiliate of PISTON (Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide), said what they are asking just asking the government is to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law, a P9/liter rollback in oil price, and the removal of the 12% EVAT.

Ajoc added, they want President Aquino, who seems to be hands-off on the matter, to hear their plea and provide a more concrete and favorable response for this issue. (Ajoc even cited the national transport protest in March 31 2011, which resulted in the PTAP Cards, Pantawid Pasada, which really were just “band-aid” solutions, according to him.)

“Gusto namo maghi-usa para dunggon sa kagamhanan na sobra na pagpataas sa lana, nagkamahal lana pero ang plete muo ra gihapon. Aduna mga pasahero mureklamo nga mahal ang plete pero dili sila gauban sa amo dari (We want to be united so that the government would hear that these fuel price hikes are just too much but the fare is still the same. There are passengers who always complain that the fares are dear, but they’re not here with us.)” –a multicab driver who asked not to be named, aired these sentiments.

A member of GABRIELLA-Malaybalay City said that even their Provincial Coordinator Jema Mangaro, encouraged their presence in the strikes. “Supak sad mi sa pagkamahal sa lana, dili mabal-an problema kung dili isinggit (We are also against the oil price hikes, the problem will unknown is not voiced out loudly)

“This is supposed to be for the drivers and the commuters who will also be affected so we are asking for their support,” said Ajoc, in vernacular.

They are expecting more drivers to join them by 12noon where a short program will be held after.

On the other hand, there were motorelas seen moving around the city. One motorela driver who’s also a member of the MAVODA, who was picking up passengers mentioned that he did not join the protest because there was no announcement from their group president. Another two motorela drivers claimed that they did not join [ke wla na klaro transport groups nagkabuwag na] coz the transport groups are vague and scattered. They also informed: [daghan man ni byahe run] there are a lot (of motorelas) who are still on regular trips. (Bukidnon News)

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