MANILA, 15Oct2017 — The League of Filipino Students (LFS) supports transport groups, drivers, and commuters in the two-day transport strike as protest against fake modernization schemes leading to the jeepney’s phase-out. Endorsed as environment-friendly vehicles, electronic jeeps are expected to cost 1.3 to 1.6 million pesos, not including other required services such as dash cams and GPS.
“How does the government expect our drivers to pay for these units the government is prescribing? They would either drown in unpayable debt or end up displaced, losing their only source of income as foreign corporations and local middlemen take over,” LFS National Spokesperson JP Rosos said in a statement.
“Parallel to how MRT system and its trains provide poor service to the masses, business-geared policies that are supposed to be public services will never have the people’s welfare at heart, only capital,” Rosos added.
Rosos pointed out that there is no argument against modernization. “It is necessary to take the environment into account, but this does not propose any solution, only a way for corporations to monopolize our mass transportation and drive the people into extreme poverty.”
Even commuters are bound to be affected by the privatization of mass transportation. “There would be an estimated 20 peso-increase in our minimum fair as drivers would adjust with how the government along with private companies corner them. But, regardless of this increase, may be it five pesos or fifty, as corporations monopolize units, it will always be dictated by their need to get more capital,” Rosos said.
Plans to destabilize the government
LTFRB Board Member Atty. Aileen Lizada said in a statement that Left-leaning groups’ show of support to the transport strike is part of a plot to destabilize the government.
“The US-Duterte regime has always been desperately ignoring the mass movement. On previous transport strikes, its machinery are downplaying the strength of drivers on strike and its supporters. Now, they try to dub this strike as part of a scheme to thrown the government into chaos and justify further fascist attacks against the people,” Rosos said.
Rosos added that “The US-Duterte regime, or any other puppet governments that it has followed were never stable in the first place. The Philippine society is in a chronic crisis, under the imperialist rule of the United States. As long as this fascist, exploitative, and abusive system remains, there will always be clamor against. The toiling masses will never be disillusioned and will always fight for their legitimate rights.”
Neoliberalism remains to be the core of Duterte’s policies. “Duterte is a hypocrite. Albeit vocal in his disdain on the opposing political party, the people he dubs as ‘dilawans,’ programs under his administration remain ‘dilawan’ as well. There is no change in the Duterte administration as he caters to the US needs, licking Uncle Sam’s boots like a dog, willing to please its master.”
Students support drivers
“The plight of our drivers is the plight of the commuters. And whatever drivers and commuters experience is only a manifestation of how this corrupt system exploits us and drives us into extreme poverty. It is only logical for students, the youth, and all sectors show support. It is our obligation to face these attacks and fight them with the strength of collective action,” Rosos ended.