Duterte to transport protesters: Modernize jeeps by year-end or get out

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(File photo) President Rodrigo Duterte

Camarines Sur (CNN Philippines, October 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte took a tough stance on drivers who staged a two-day nationwide strike against the government's jeepney modernization plan.

"I'll give you until the end of the month, or until the end of the year. Sumunod kayo. Because January 1, 'pag may nakita ako diyan na mga jeep ninyo na hindi narehistro, luma, guguyurin ko yan sa harap ninyo," he said.

[Translation: I'll give you until the end of the month, or until the end of the year. Follow the law. Because on January 1, if I see your jeeps are unregistered, old, I will have them dragged in front of you.]

Speaking at an event in Camarines Sur Tuesday, Duterte was unbending in his order to allow only new jeepneys in country's streets at the start of next year.

"January 1, pag hindi niyo na modernize yan, umalis kayo. Mahirap kayo, p***** i**, sige. Magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom, wala akong pakialam," he said.

[Translation: January 1, if you haven't modernized, get out. If you're poor, son of a b****. wallow in your misery and hunger, I don't care.]

And if the protesters wanted trouble, Duterte said that would not be a problem.

"Marami naman akong pulis. May tine-training ako ngayon na army na 20,000," he added.

[Translation: I have plenty of policemen. I am training 20,000 in the army.]

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) staged a two-day strike that started Monday. On Monday, Piston said 200,000 members took part in the protest.

According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, some of the areas hardest hit by the transport strike were San Fernando and Angeles in Pampanga and San Pedro, Calamba.

Piston President George San Mateo called the strike a success, citing that at least 80 percent of jeepney routes were paralyzed.

RELATED: Jeepney group claims success of two-day strike

However, LTFRB Spokesperson Atty. Aileen Lizada added that the strike affected less than one percent of commuters.

RELATED: Regulators: Strike failed to paralyze transport service

President Duterte suspended classes and work in government offices on both days of the transport strike.

Duterte said he has always been strict, and it shows in the way things are done in Davao, which he called his "template" for how transport services should be run.

"Go to Davao...Sa Davao, sakay ka ng taxi. Kailangan talaga isoli yung sinsilyo. Kung hindi mo tanggapin, ihabol yan," he explained.

[Translation: Go to Davao...In Davao, ride a taxi. The change has to be returned to you. If you don't accept it, they will chase you to give it.]

Duterte said "majority of Filipinos" are suffering because of the unwillingness to adapt to the jeepney modernization program which would improve the public's health.

The President said he supports the modernization program because of this, noting that pollution from old jeeps, he contribute to lung problems and other illnesses.

"Statistics from the United Nations say that by 2025, it would have tripled the...lung cancer sa ating mga kababayan," he stressed.

While respected people's right to protest, Duterte said he has to look out for the interests of Filipinos.

"There is a time for friendship, there is a time to be reasonable, there is a time for reconciliation, and a time for hatred. Ito ngayon, Pilipino ang nakataya dito [Here now, Filipinos are on the line.]," the President explained.

Piston an ally of the Communist Party – Duterte

The President also said the transport group PISTON which led the strike. He said PISTON was working with the Left and part of a bigger group committing rebellion.

Piston has over 200,00 members natioonwide.

"Sabihin ko sa Piston and the rest of the Left – legal yan sila e – ako lang nagsasabi ng totoo [I will say to Piston and the rest of the Left – because they're legal – and I am telling the truth]. Itong Karapatan, KMU, Piston, they are just the legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines," he said. "It's one big conspiracy, but they are at the same time – all of them – are committing, right now, rebellion," he added

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong and Digital Producer Pia Garcia contributed to this story.