Piston celebrates 43rd anniversary with protest

This article is available in Pilipino

Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) members marched down Recto Avenue to Malacañang on June 7 to celebrate the federation’s 43rd anniversary. They demanded that the Marcos regime to scrap the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) which is killing their livelihood.

“The only thing we survive on at the moment is the service we perform to address this government’s gross insufficiency of public service,” said Ruben Baylosis, Piston general secretary. “However this government is about to sell or offer to foreigners (this) public service.” This was in reference to the phasing out of traditional jeepneys to be replaced by minibuses that will be imported from Japan, South Korea and even China.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) founded Piston in 1981 as a result of the efforts of drivers and jeepney operators in Cubao after their successful strike against the unjust re-routing and mass confiscation of licenses under the Marcos Sr. dictatorship. In the following years, Piston became a national federation and a powerful force in the transport workers’ movement in the Philippines.

“But our fight is not over,” its anniversary statement said. “The Marcos Jr. regime and its political and business accomplices continue to unleash repression to suppress the growing unity of the people for progressive, patriotic, and mass-oriented public transportation.”

Piston considers the PUVMP, now known as the Public Transport Modernization Program (PTMP), as a violation of their right to free association. They are being deprived of their livelihood because they are against the forced consolidation of franchises. They know that consolidation is just a step for big companies to divest them of their livelihood.

AB: Piston celebrates 43rd anniversary with protest