On Monday an estimated 70%-80% of Jeepney drivers will take part in a transportation shut down to protest the Value Added Taxes (VAT) and oil hikes that the government has put in place.  These taxes significantly decrease the average driver’s daily take home.  The transport freeze could bring Manila to a virtual stand still.  It will also extend to the provinces where the turn out of driver participants is projected to be even higher.

Today we talked to one Jeepney operator and organizer who started as a farmer.  Seeking a better life, he came to Manila to find work and became a Jeepney driver and then fleet operator. Now the tables have turned, he spoke about how many drivers, unable to financially survive the new taxes, are returning to the countryside to become farmers.

We have seen this cycle before– people in rural areas are kicked off there land for the purpose of development and come to Manila to re-settle and find work, only to be forced out of settlements to make room for a new Manila mall. People are shuffled between urban and rural settings but their situation remains the same. The Jeepney below has a name that says it all.

Check back on Monday for a full report on the strike.