‘DON’T BE AFRAID’: Group prods operators, drivers to join transport strike

Government agencies and offices like the Army will deploy vehicles should the nationwide transport strike today affects the city and province of Iloilo. (DG file)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

BAGONG Alyansang Makabayan-Panay (Bayan Panay) urged drivers and operators in the province and city of Iloilo to join the nationwide transport strike today, Sept 30, 2019, amid the warning of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Region 6 that they will revoke the franchise of those who will join the protest.

According to Bayan Panay Secretary-General Elmer Forro, operators and drivers who will join the transport strike have nothing to fear of because the previous pronouncements of Richard Osmeña regional director LTFRB-6 in revoking the franchise of those who will join the transport strike is just “mere intimidation” and “harassment.”

Waay sang kahadlok kay ang iya pronouncement isa ka pagpatalang, mere intimidation, pamahog, kag puro kabutigan,” he said in a phone interview on Sunday.

Forro reacted to the statements of Osmeña who recently warned that he will file charges and revoke the franchises of drivers and operators who will join the nationwide transport strike today.

He said they had a legal conference with the National Union of the Philippines Lawyers (NUPL) on Friday.

Ang ginahambal niya nga Memorandum Circular 2011-004 may due process nga may penalty from first to second offense, and finally the revocation of franchise on the third and final offense. Nasaad sang amo na layi kung ang mga operators and driver gagamit sang pwersa ukon coercion indi bala simple lang freedom of expression lang naga-violate na kay amo na ang gina-imply niya,” Forro stressed.

Forro emphasized that Osmeña’s pronouncements only show that he does not respect the freedom of expression of the drivers, operators, and the public.

Ang tan-aw sang lawyers gin-isolate niya ang layi nga gapamahog sa mga jeepneys or operators nga indi mag-join sang whatever protest. Wala niya ginpakita ang kabilugan nga layi nga dako nga portion sini ang gagarantiya sang freedom of expression sang operators and drivers. Para sa amon nga Bayan Panay, si Osmeña isa ka butigon kag bully,” he stressed.

In an interview with a local radio station, Osmeña warned that he will cancel the franchises of operators who will join the nationwide strike on Monday.

Dapat lang magkurog sila nga magkurog,” he said.

Several transport groups like the Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Drivers Association (ICLAJODA) and three other groups already intimated that they will not join the transport strike.

On Thursday, Mayor Jerry Treñas issued an executive order (EO) declaring the suspension of classes in all levels of both public and private schools in Iloilo City today following the nationwide transport strike.

Alyansa Kontra PUV Phase Out-Panay said they expect 95% participation from various transport associations in Iloilo from tricycles, jeepneys, taxis and even vans in protest of the government’s

Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Apart from the transport strike a multisectoral protest will also be conducted today by several cause-oriented groups in the different strike centers for the People’s Holiday, according to Forro.

Forro said students, farmers, urban poor alongside cause-oriented groups will be holding a protest on strike centers located at Tagbak Terminal, Ungka, and the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.

He urged employees and the public to join the protest.

Indi na magsulod sa inyo mga opisina kag eskwelahan kag magkadto sa mga strike centers agud maghinun-anon sa aton mga drayber kag mga mangunguma. Ang phase out pagguba ukon pagwasak sa ila pangabuhian indi lang transport sector, pati ang farmer thru Rice Liberization Law and madamo nga pumuluyo mawasak ang palangabuhian bangod sang road clearing operations without alternative livelihood sa mga sidewalk vendors,” he said.