Despite rap, Dec. 4-5 transport strike to push through: PISTON prexy

MANILA — PISTON national president George San Mateo said Friday his organization of commuter jeepneys would go on with its planned transport strike on December 4 and 5 despite a case filed against him.

“For us, this case will have no bearing on our planned strike. The strike will definitely push through,” San Mateo said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has filed the complaint of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) against San Mateo before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court for leading a transport strike in protest of the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) last February.

The transport leader is facing a charge for violation of Commonwealth Act No. 146 or the Public Service Act for allegedly encouraging jeepney drivers and operators not to provide rides to commuters in defiance of the government.

“The undersigned finds probable cause to charge the respondent (San Mateo) for violation of Section 20 (k) in relation to Section 24 of Commonwealth Act No. 146 or the Public Service Act,” Assistant City Prosecutor Marvelous Madamba said in a resolution dated October 30, which was released to reporters Friday.

“The respondent as operator of a public transport can be said to be aware of the Public Service Act which provides that the act of conducting a transport strike is an adoption of a measure, which affects the public in relation to the public service,” Madamba added.

The nationwide transport strike held on February 27 resulted in the suspension of classes and work in affected areas due to the lack of public utility vehicles that would ferry stranded commuters.

But the LTFRB said it would not recommend the suspension of classes for next week’s transport strike, as the agency expects that it would only cause minimal impact on public transportation.

The PUVMP requires jeepney units that are 15 years old to be replaced with Euro 4 engines or electrically-powered engines with solar panels for roofs and to be equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, a GPS navigation system, an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), speed limiters, dashboard cameras, and Wi-Fi. Aerol John Pateña/