Due to the controversies arising regarding the compliance as well as the resistance of the drivers on the jeepney modernization program of the government, the Malacañang Palace is trying to figure out the possibility of suspending classes in the entire Metro Manila for the whole of the week. This is most especially due to the planned weeklong nationwide strike of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston).
It can be recalled that this jeepney modernization program was conceptualized and launched by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2017 with the overarching objective of transforming the public transportation system of the country into an efficient and environmentally friendly way by the year 2020, two years from now. The backlog of this program is that it will cost the affected drivers a total of 2.1 million pesos if they will adhere to the changes being offered by the government. This is primarily the main reason why this program was labeled as an “anti-poor” program.
In fact, the Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque gave the official statement of the palace saying: “If and when Piston pushes through with its threat to continue its nationwide strike, despite its unsuccessful staging today, we will call for a class suspension in Metro Manila starting tomorrow, March 20 until Friday, March 23.”
He further explained that it is already in the discretion of the other local government units (LGUs) who will be affected to the said strike to suspend the classes in their respective area of supervision and of management. He also further expressed that he is seeking for the patience and understanding of those affected commuters experiencing the hassle and inconvenience brought by this situation. Furthermore, he also emphasized that the government is firm on its decision of pursuing and is still committed to the jeepney modernization program of the public utility vehicles (PUVs) and by adding that the government sees it as a solution in fixing the issues of old jeepneys that is contributing to the societal and environmental problems.
It may be remembered that this is not the first time that the PISTON planned and implemented a nationwide strike. This also happened last November and December last year, 2017. Although it is inconvenient most especially on the part of the commuters, this is the only way that the government can strictly implement its program for the welfare and betterment of the citizen and the country.