FROM  CEBU:  TRANSPORT  STRIKE  ON MONDAY 

MANILA, JULY 23, 2005
 
(STAR) The Freeman - Two large transport groups yesterday said they will hold a transport strike this Monday, in time with President Gloria Arroyo's State of the Nation Address, as they joined the call for her resignation.

The Nagkahiusang Drayber sa Sugbu -boasting a membership of at least 7,000 operators and drivers in the city and province- and the Alliance of Transport Organizations Member Intra-Cebu City, with at least 1,000 members covering all city routes, said their joined forces are expected to paralyze Cebu's transport system.

Other transport groups may also participate in the mass actions. NADSU chairman Anthony Pogado said his group has been goading other groups, independent drivers and operators, including those of buses and taxis, to join the strike to carry successfully the anti-Arroyo message.

Pogado said they are targeting to paralyze Cebu's transport by 80 percent, and their plan would be for NADSU members to stop plying their routes at 1 a.m. while ATOMIC members will start their own "tigil pasada" at 5 a.m., all of which are programmed to last until afternoon.

"There are many problems of drivers the Arroyo government has not given attention to. There is massive corruption in government, oil prices are soaring due to the oil deregulation law and now, we are waiting for the E-VAT. She should step down now because she could not resolve the problems of the people," Pogado said.

ATOMIC President Rudy Laconza, for his part, said his group has never joined a transport strike before but now they decided to unite with the anti-Arroyo movement because they could no longer bear this administration which "oppresses the poor drivers".

This strike is their last resort to pressure Arroyo to step down voluntarily, said Laconza. "We have decided to impose this verdict on her because we consider her as reckless driver with lots of violations and, as such, she has no right to become the nation's driver."

ATOMIC said Arroyo's violations include "driving under the influence of oil deregulation, overspeeding on prime commodities, overloading with graft and corruption, and disregarding the E-VAT traffic sign."

"We believe that the drivers, operators and commuters no longer trust PGMA as driver because they are afraid that the country might meet a big accident," said ATOMIC, which cited some recent developments and the rising tide of people calling for her resignation. - Wenna A. Berondo


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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