By ALDWIN QUITASOL
“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.— Dale Carnegie
This month, the local chapter of a militant and progressive national alliance of transport groups in the country here in the city of Baguio won some favorable decisions and actions from the regional trial court and the city council. This militant national alliance has been known for their progressive analysis of issues particularly affecting the lives of the drivers and small transport operators in relation to the rest of the Filipino people.
They do not simply call a transport strike whenever there is a hike in the prices of crude oil and petroleum products. Or simply demand an outright raise in the public’s transport fare. As an organization, they recognize that they are a member of the larger population burdened by the undeterred rising prices of basic necessities.
Consciously they do not believe and know why they should not simply pass the burden of the oil price hike to their passengers; and instead they scientifically seek for a solution to the common advantage of both transport worker and the commuting public. That is, how to stop greedy oil companies from overpricing petroleum products.
Also, there are government directives also that affect the transport sector and the costs of operating this utility. For the local group, their first victory this year was getting the regional court here in Baguio to review and hear their side on an oppressive (LTO-DOTC) department order in relation to fines on drivers’ or operators’ misdemeanors . The Court declared it 2008-39 unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
The local chapter filed the complaint and informed the national organization of jeepney drivers and operators. Nationwide both transportation workers and small operators waited anxiously for the decision as the local officers and members here tirelessly followed-up the case, so that when they won the judgment, the whole militant alliance was proud of their “collective effort”.
Though they are part of the winning side, one local leader of a separate national federation of jeepney drivers and operators who was interviewed, simply did not have any comment even just to say, “Thanks, I have supported them.”
The second victory of this transport organization is with the City council who heeded their petition to make revisions on the provisions of the city ordinance number 61 series of 2008 on implementing the clean air act. The petitioners raised provisions seen as anti-driver and small operators. Again, the group made follow-ups on their petition and waited for months. Their patience paid off.
For the workers, it is very important for them to have a union with leaders well oriented on their common issues, and dedicated to stand by their members, and lead the struggle with them for the recognition and respect for their rights and welfare as citizens and as workers in their line of industry. As opposed to psuedo leaders or officers who would rather collaborate with management or the employers instead of being one with the members and truly represent their hope for dignity in the labor sector.
In the transport sector, the small drivers and operators need an association, organization or federation that can truly represent them and truly speak out what they mean. And leaders who share their visions and aspirations, who understand the hardships of being a driver working all day just to earn that small amount to buy food, one who has the guts to fight for what rightfully is for them, the members benefit, and not just collecting membership fees and monthly dues. Not just somebody who likes the spotlight and being pointed out as the president. # nordis.net