MANILA - The transport protest against government's jeepney modernization program held Monday was successful, an activist group leader said, countering the claim of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said the MMDA does not understand that the goal of the strike was not to inconvenience the riding public but to raise demands on the issue.
"A strike aims to disrupt in order to call attention to an issue. The fact na nagsuspinde ng pasok, dahil may disruption, ito ay tagumpay na ng transport groups," he said in a Facebook post.
(The fact that classes were suspended because there was a disruption is already a success for transport groups.)
"Hindi ata nauunawaan ng MMDA ang layunin ng isang strike. The temporary disruption is a last resort to raise demands on an issue. May ipinaglalaban po ang mga tsuper. Hindi lamang ito pamemerwisyo. Ang mga tsuper din ay mawawalan ng kita sa araw na ito."
(The MMDA does not seem to understand the goal of a strike. The temporary disruption is a last resort to raise demands on an issue. Our jeepney drivers are fighting for something, they are not just causing inconvenience. They will also lose earnings for the day.)
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago earlier said the strike was unsuccessful because classes and work were suspended, limiting the number of affected commuters.
Several areas suspended Monday's classes due to the transport strike, while some local governments like Pasig, Manila and Marikina offered free rides.
"Hindi matatawag na successful ang pagpapahirap sa mga commuters. They are not successful because as early as 8:30 in the morning naibalik sa normal situation ang mga areas na may mga stranded passengers," she told reporters.
(We could not say they were successful in tormenting the commuters. They are not successful because as early as 8:30 in the morning, normal situation was restored in areas with stranded passengers.)
Her statement drew criticism online, finding her logic laughable.
In a statement Monday night, Pialago clapped back at her "bashers," saying she would not let the transport strike become successful because "your intentions are wrong."
"Gusto niyong gawin iyan para marinig kayo at makita ang kahalagaan ng grupo niyo sa transport system ng Metro Manila. Pero sa totoo lang, nangho-hostage kayo ng kaginhawaan ng mga commuters. Pinahihirapan lang ninyo ang kapwa niyo," she said.
(They say they do this to be heard and for their group's importance to be seen in Metro Manila's transport system. In truth, they are holding hostage the comfort of the commuters. They are tormenting the citizens.)
"Hindi namin kayo bibigyan ng ganung satisfaction, hindi namin ibibigay sa inyo ang satisfaction na makapagperwisyo sa taong bayan. Wala akong babawiin sa mga sinabi ko at tuloy-tuloy ang serbisyo namin sa taong-bayan."
(We will not give you the satisfaction for tormenting the public. I will not retract my statements and we will continue our service to the people.)
Under the transportation department's public utility vehicle program launched in 2017, all jeepneys must be brought into compliance with new design standards within 3 years.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to implement the program despite the opposition of small transport operators, who said it would drive them to debt due to the new jeepney models' higher costs.