200 drivers, operators in Bataan’s 1st district hold strike

BALANGA CITY, Bataan — Some 200 drivers and operators of passenger jeepneys, out of the total of 1,200 units in the first district of Bataan, on Monday joined the nationwide transport strike in opposition to the proposed modernization of public utility vehicles.

Those participating in the one-day transport strike from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. were passenger jeepneys plying the Balanga–Abucay and Balanga–Orani routes.

Meanwhile, passenger jeepneys in the second district plying between Balanga to Pilar, Orion and Limay towns did not join the strike.

The jeepney drivers and operators held a short program and said a prayer on the corner of the four-lane road in Balanga City, watched closely by police, after they marched briefly from their terminal.

“Tutulan ang Jeepney Phaseout. No to PUV Modernization Program,” their big streamers read.

“Tinututulan namin ng modernization plan ng gobyerno. Hindi namin kaya ang halaga na sinasabi nilang Php1.8 milyon na huhulugan namin araw-araw ng P600. Mahirap ito para sa aming maliliit na operator (We are opposing the modernization plan of the government. We cannot afford the PHP1. 8 million with a daily installment payment of PHP600.

This would be hard for us–small operators),” Eman Cruz, spokesman of the Balanga-Orani Drivers, Operators Association, said.

“We can pay the installment obligation but what will happen to our family?” he added.

The protesters claimed that the modernization program would greatly affect the livelihood of jeepney operators and drivers and the riding public as well with the increase in fare.

Meanwhile, the provincial government and some barangays dispatched vehicles offering “libreng sakay” (free rides). PNA-northboundasia.com