Harebrained, malicious and downright fascist responses to today’s transport strike are to be expected from the usual suspects — from the government that pretends there is no problem and from those who subscribe to the politics of hopelessness and surrender.
To help elucidate the cause of PISTON, Engr. Ramon Ramirez, a pre-martial law board topnotcher, who has chosen to serve the people through mass movements, came out with the following email:
Math of the transport strike tomorrow
When the government allowed jeepney drivers to collect P7.50 as the minimum fare a few years ago, diesel was at P26 per liter…
Now diesel costs P42 and the minimum fare is still P7.50. The drivers take a cut in their earnings every time the cost of diesel increases.
The fuel cost has jumped by 62%! and inflation is at a 3-year high, you sometimes wonder how the drivers make both ends meet. If they were owners of IPPs (power generators) they would have added the increases in the cost of diesel to the generation charge via the so-called GRAM (or Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism), and it would all be legal
But drivers are not as special as the IPPs and they cannot do that without their licenses and franchises revoked. So tomorrow they are staging a transport strike as a means of redressing their grievances.
But the strange thing — from the point of view of a hard-nosed businessm — is that they are not demanding an increase in the minimum fare!. Why? As PISTON spokesman George explained it in the presscon last Saturday, they do not want to add to the burden of the people by charging higher new minimum fare.
Instead they want to have diesel at reduced prices by asking Arroyo to remove the taxes and tariffs on diesel and related products. That would reduce in a big way the cost of diesel, and drivers can recover some amount of their previous incomes..
Min.fare (a few years ago): P7.50
Cost of diesel (a few years ago): P26
Min. fare (today): P7.50
Cost of diesel (today): P42
Increase in minimum fare: 0
Increase in cost of diesel: P16 (62%)
Cost of living: Has made a quantum leap
Cost reduction if petroleum taxes and tariffs are removed: 10%
Will Arroyo understand the simple math? Or will she wait for drivers to be driven to use more forceful ways to redress their grievances before she understands the very simple math?
I hope MonRam posts this in his own blog pronto.
Everyone benefits if PISTON succeeds in its campaign. Compelling the government to actually do something on oil prices will benefit everyone including PISTON critics. PISTON is not asking for a fare increase (not at the moment, I understand, and although they fully deserve it) and instead looking at the issue more as citizens than as drivers so please give them some respect.
Anyway, I repeat my snappy salute to the nation’s activist drivers under the banner of PISTON. Despite the non-participation of such groups like FEJODAP, 1-UTAK, PASANG MASDA and PCDO-ACTO, the drivers of PISTON are carrying on their fight, nay, our fight.
As to the aforementioned transport groups, I can only say that never have we seen them launch a transport strike in recent memory. Sometimes they threaten to hold a strike or two, but they always, as in always, back out at the last minute. I do hope the mass members of these transport groups see through the problem and support/join PISTON in today’s strike.