According to Joel Ascutia, President of Condor-Piston the transport group that led the regional transport strike, as of 6 AM, paralysis of transportation in the Bicol region registers as follows: 90% of jeepneys and 90% of tricycles in Albay; 70% of jeepneys, 60% of tricycles, 40% of vans, and 50% of buses in Sorsogon; 80% percent of jeepneys and multicab vans in Iriga, Camarines Sur; and 70% of jeepneys, vans, buses, and 50% of tricycles in Camarines Norte.
Associations of drivers and operators of ordinary and airconditioned buses and the GTExpress tranport service also participated in the strike. Symbolic protest actions were also launched in the island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes.
At the end of the end of the day, 85% of the transport sector participated in the strike according to a press statement of Condor-Piston.
EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT of the transport sector in the Bicol Region participated in the regional transport strike spearheaded by CONDOR-PISTON. Public transportation was paralized in the provinces of of Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte and in the Rinconada area(Iriga, Nabua, Baao, Bula, Bato, Buhi) in Camarines Sur.
Bikolano drivers and small transport operators complain on the additional fees and penalty cost implemented by DOTC and LTO which claim to ideally “discipline” the transport sector. Such fees on drivers’ licence and penalties on traffic violations include an increase of 200-1200% basing from the 1992 LTO rates.
CONDOR-PISTON has filed a petition to abolish the following:
- Revised Schedule of Fees & Charges on Driver’s License and Conductor’s (DOTC Department Order #2008-38)
- Revised Schedule of LTO Fines and Penalties for Traffic Violations (DOTC Department Order #2008-39)
According to CONDOR-PISTON Regional President Joel Ascutia, the small amount of income that each transport worker takes home to feed his family is legally stolen, where only corrupt officials benefit from.
What aggreviates more the burden carried by the transport sector are the constant series of oil price hike, high cost of imported spareparts, and other maintaince expenses, which is also made worse by the Value-Added Tax(VAT) on petroleum products and other taxes, according to Ascutia.
Photos forwarded by Vince Casilihan.