Why Piston references Taylor Swift in two-day transport strike vs PUVMP

December 14, 2023 - 5:28 PM
Piston members wearing blue shorts during transport strike on December 14, 2023 (NoToPUVPhaseout/Facebook)

A transport group greeted Taylor Swift for her birthday while referencing the two-day jeepney strike in the country.

The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) uploaded a picture of Taylor wearing a blue dress while greeting her a happy birthday on December 13. The singer turned 34 years old on that day.

“WE’LL NEVER GO OUT OF STRIKE,” Piston posted on its X account. It was referencing a line from the singer’s hit single “Style.”

“Happy Birthday @taylorswift13! Happy Blue Shirt Day to you! Thank you for showing support for the drivers and operators on strike!” the group also said with the hashtags #NoToPUVPhaseout and #IbasuraAngDeadline.

In an earlier post, Piston announced that blue would be its color of dissent. Participants of the strike were invited to wear blue shirts on Wednesday.

“Magandang gabi mga kababayan! Inaanyayahan namin ang lahat na makiisa sa ng ating mga tsuper at operator sa pagtatanggol ng kanilang kabuhayan. Magsuot po tayo ng BLUE tulad ng mga polo ng mga mahal nating tsuper bukas, December 13, para ipakita ang malawak nating suporta!” the invitation reads.

The group is also currently holding a two-day transport strike. It runs on December 14 and 15 to protest the pending franchise consolidation deadline of the government for traditional jeepneys, thus leading to their phase-out, by the end of this year.

The transport strike was in response to the statement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the deadline, saying that the schedule for the national government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) would push through.

In his statement, Marcos said that 70% of operators have already consolidated their franchises under the program, which has figured in controversies since its implementation in 2017.

“We cannot let the minority cause further delays, affecting the majority of our operators, banks, financial institutions, and the public at large,” the chief executive said.

“Adhering to the current timeline ensures that everyone can reap the benefits of the full operationalization of our modernized public transport system. Hence, the scheduled timeline will not be moved,” he added.

For Piston President Mody Floranda, however, the PUVMP is “wrong” and would “result in a crisis” in the Philippines.

“What we are fighting is the wrong program of the state where you will remove the livelihood of the big percentage of drivers and operators. It will result in a crisis in the economy and will affect the commuters,” Floranda was quoted in a report as saying.

Last November, transport groups Piston and Manibela also temporarily halted their operations, from November 20 to 22 and November 22 to 24, respectively.

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