Duterte cracks whip on erring jeepney drivers!

LAST Monday and Tuesday, Malacañang declared the suspension of work in all government offices as well as classes in all levels in both public and private schools nationwide,

The reason for the declaration was the two - day protest and strike actions organized by PISTON against the government’s jeepney modernization program.

PISTON is the leftist organization for the transport sector. It is worth noting non- leftist jeepney transport organizations did not join in the Piston –led strike.

 

Minimal Effect

The effect of the strike was minimal and certainly not Metro Manila - wide much less nationwide. 

Those of us who belong to the First Quarter Storm generation, experienced the transport strikes of 1970 to 1972. 

At that time, all the jeepney national federations encompassing most of the local jeepney organizations came together. 

Taxi operators and drivers joined the mass actions and strikes. The student movement was at its peak and fully supported the transport strikes.

The main issue then was fuel price increases. The fuel price increases were triggered by the June 1967 Middle East War.

The Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan and Syria and their armed forces were defeated by Israel. Parts of their territories were conquered and occupied. 

The United States and most of the Western European countries were allies and supporters of Israel. 

 

OPEC

The Arab oil producing countries spearheaded the organization of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The OPEC succeeded in imposing production quotas thus increasing the price of crude oil. In the future, the OPEC also organized boycotts of countries that supported Israel.

One of the main achievements of the Martial Law declared on September 21 – 23, 1972, was to defang the organized and united transport sector. 

Never again would there be transport strikes of the quantity and quality of those of 1970 to 1972.

While the issue of oil price increases was universally popular, the other issues carried by the jeepney transport sector are not. 

 

Jeepney Modernization

Last week the issue was jeepney modernization. The protesters were against it. The rest of the public are against jeepneys and their drivers.

If the protestors and strikers were so popular, why did the government have to react as they did? 

Won’t the public get mad at the government for overkill. The answer is no. 

The public will be madder at the cause or reason for the government’s reaction. The jeepney sector is so unpopular. The government and particularly, President Rodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte is so relatively popular. Duterte comes out the winner no matter what.

The problem was small. It is Duterte who built it up by his reaction. 

Then, in a speech last week, he cursed the jeepneys, their operators and drivers and their supporters. S

Sddenly, he blurted out a deadline of January 1, 2018, for them to get rid of un-modernized jeepneys. 

That was not the deadline set by the LTFRB or the DOTr. Their deadlines were very far still.

In one speech Duterte cracked the paralysis of almost a century.

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