LEGAZPI CITY, 6March2017 (BicolToday.com) – Transport group in Bicol encourages the public to share the plight of drivers, operators and the affected sectors using social media.
There was an overwhelmingly positive support for the strike on February 27. However, their campaign do not ends there according to Condor-Piston Bicol during their assessment, weekend.
“A day of transportation paralysis is successful. More strikes to come and we need the public support,” said Ramon Rescovilla, secretary-general of Condor Piston Bicol.
Facebook posts matter
Transport leaders were reminded by a viral Facebook post of an Ateneo Scholar whose father is a jeepney driver.
Hya Bendaña, Ateneo de Manila University student, caught public attention when she shared her sentiments about the unsuspended classes in Loyola schools and Ateneo Professional Schools despite the transport strike staged by jeepney drivers.
Her post has garnered more than 27,000 likes and reactions, more than 9,000 shares and more than 150 comments.
Bendaña wanted the people to stop for a moment and listen to jeepney drivers on strike for solidarity’s sake.
“Did you know that for him to send allowance to us in the province starting when I was 1st year high school, he gave up the small apartment he was renting for 1500 pesos and slept in the jeepney?” stated Bendaña on her post.
She worries always on her father’s safety every time he is sleeping in the jeepney.
Bendaña’s testimonial was admirable according to the transport group.
Rescovilla said they wanted other netizens to share their sentiments and their solidarity with transport sector demanding for their rights.
In the recent report by We are Social and Hootsuite, there 339.2 million internet users, 305.9 active social media users and 272.6 million active mobile social users in Southeast Asia as of January 2017.
According to the report, more than half of Southeast Asia’s population now uses internet. It grows more than 30% or 80 million new internet users around the region in the past 12 months alone.
As of January 2017, there are 305.9 million monthly active Facebook users in Southeast Asia. Among the countries in the region, Philippines ranked 5th with 58% internet penetration and social media penetration.
In Philippines, Facebook tops the most used social media. It’s Facebook Messanger even raced ahead, twice as big as Viber, in terms of active user numbers.
Maximizing the potential of social media, with its great number of active users, is significant in the advancement of the campaign and calls of the people according to Condor-Piston Bicol.
“They can post and share video clips of the sentiments of drivers or the riding public in support with our calls against jeepney phase-out,” Rescovilla said.
Aiming more than 93% paralysis
Condor-Piston Bicol and No to Jeepney Phase Out Coalition in the region thanked the public for their support during the strike.
The roads from commercial districts in Naga, Legazpi and Daet were paralyzed, 93%, during the nation-wide transport strike.
In Catanduanes, 40 tricycle drivers held transport caravan in support with them.
While in Sorsogon, transport leader Elvin Alzaga said the support of jeepney drivers in their province caused 65% paralysis despite the dominance of tricycles in the main city.
The paralysis in Masbate was 20% during the strike since its city is also dominated by tricycles while vans and buses are mostly used as mode of transportation going to far-flung municipalities.
“The suspension of classes in most schools in Bicol region were a positive response in the righteousness and legality of the issue being protested by the transport sector,” Rescovilla said. “And our right to strike as effective weapon to fight for our democratic right and interest against neoliberal policies being implemented by the Duterte administration.”
Condor-Piston Bicol together with other transport groups in Bicol are preparing for another strike. The group aims that next time the drivers and operators of tricycles, vans and other public utility vehicles will join them.
Piston and No to Jeepney Phase Out Coalition are asserting for just source of living of the transport sector and protest against policies not for the drivers, operators and not for the people.
Duterte administration wanted to pass the Emergency Traffic Power Bill which is pushing for Jeepney Modernization Act that aims to modernize the local public transportation system by phasing out jeepneys.
Jeepney Phase-out will give way for the new models such as Euro4 jeepneys and E-jeepneys.
E-jeeps will cost 900,000 to 1.5 million pesos each (US$17,900 to US$29,800), and Euro 4 engine jeeps will cost up to 1.6 million pesos.
Included in the proposed bill is the Rationalized Transport System or the removal of the rights of associations and federations of drivers and operators to join the decision making in routes.
Under the Omnibus Franchising Policy, Rescovilla said that they are not allowed to add a unit of old jeepney since the policy only permits the franchise of E-jeep, Euro4 and jeepney using compressed natural gas.
Fleet Management System is also part of the phase-out scheme wherein corporations will have the authority to manage jeepneys, removing the rights of the operators over its units according to Rescovilla.
For them to have their own franchise, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is requiring all drivers and operators to have a minimum working capital of 7 million pesos and 20 e-jeeps.
If the campaign of the transport sector will fail, around 650,000 drivers and 250,000 operators will be left unemployed.
“Other sectors will be affected, even our own families,” said Rescovilla. “We can’t avail the expensive demand of the present administration.”
“This fight is not only for us drivers and operators,” Rescovilla added that it requires public support.
“Let the netizens join and support our campaigns,” he added.[BicolToday.com]