Transport execs claim PISTON’s strike a destab plot, deny lack of consultations and anti-poor claims

Image from Piston Transport's Facebook account
  • LTFRB member said transport group’s strike part of a destabilization plot of leftist groups
  • DOTR questioned PISTON’s affiliation with militants, basis for strike
  • It also said consultations were done, denied claims modernization program was anti-poor

MANILA, Philippines  –  Both the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) have blasted the two-day transport strike being conducted by Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operaytor Nationwide (PISTON) nationwide.

LTFRB member Atty. Aileen Lizada described the strike as a part of an alleged destabilization plot against the government by leftist groups.

“We are receiving reports that the transport strike tomorrow led by PISTON will be supported by other left-leaning groups allegedly the plot is to destabilize government. On the part of government we will be providing Kalayaan rides as well as private buses,” GMA News quoted her as saying.

For its part, the DOTr questioned PISTON’s affiliation with the militants and whether its protests were really geared for the benefit of both its members and the riding public.

“These further leave us these questions: Do they really have the higher interest of the riding public and the best interest of jeepney drivers and operators if they oppose each and every program aimed at improving public transportation? Or is PISTON disagreeing just for the sake of disagreement, in order to justify its existence as a militant and leftist group?” it asked.

The department also denied PISTON’s claims that no consultations were done and that the modernization program was anti-poor.

“The DOTr and the LTFRB have conducted numerous consultations and dialogues with various stakeholders, such as public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers across the country, as well as with organized transport groups and local government units,” it said.

“On the issue that the PUVMP is anti-poor because of the high cost of new jeepney units, PISTON is clearly misinformed. A major component of the PUVMP is the financial scheme available to PUJ operators and drivers who wish to avail of new units through financing of government financial institutions, Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines,” the DOTr continued. “The financing package for acquisition of new units endorsed by the Department of Finance (DOF) is very generous – as low as 5% equity, 6% interest rate and a repayment period as long as 7 years. On top of this, government will offer as high as PhP80,000 subsidy per unit to cover the equity payment. Moreover, because of zero or low maintenance cost of new units in the first 3 years, savings thereon will be translated to income, with an increased confidence and capability to meet loan obligations.”