Lessons from PISTON’s successful jeepney strike

The transport strike is a success, despite the Arroyo government’s claims that it did not affect anything. The MMDA suspended color-coding and provided free rides to stranded commuters.

In Davao, three out of every four jeepneys did not ply their routes.

Jeepney drivers in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities also joined the strike. Also in Iloilo and Aklan, and in Baguio, Calabarzon and Bicol.

What do jeepney drivers want? Not heaven. They don’t want immense wealth. They don’t want fancy cars.

They are actually fighting for everyone’s welfare on the issue of relentless oil price hikes. Jeepney drivers and just about everyone have been affected by these increases, and the Arroyo government has not done anything to check the price hikes. The government just always gives the lame excuse about the world market determining the final pump price, and that the industry is deregulated — meaning that the government won’t intervene.

Lame excuses really because the government has the mandate to check whether oil companies are gouging consumers, including jeepney drivers, in the price hikes. We have yet to be informed by the government whether the increases are warranted. Moreover, nothing stops the government from reacquiring Petron,  establishing centralized oil procurement (so we won’t depend 100% on overpriced oil products from Shell, Petron and Caltex) and other stuff. The government just wants to sit down and relax, the same things the oil cartel owners do everyday while all of us endure an endless wave of price hikes.

Congress should also seriously consider some proposals on how to address the problem.

Yes, many were inconvenienced by the strike, that we must all admit. But that is a small price to pay for making the entire nation take note of the kadusta-dustang sitwasyon of jeepney drivers, the runaway prices of oil, and the government’s incompetence.

Buti pa ang jeepney drivers, umaangal para sa lahat.

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