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Nationwide transport strike set on Dec. 4-5 despite gov’t threats on cancelling franchises, licenses



Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) president George San Mateo said that the transport group will stage their fourth strike all over the country on December 4 to 5 to oppose the government’s jeepney modernization program in 2018.

San Mateo clarified that they are not against phasing out dilapidated jeepneys to make way for new ones, but that they were concerned about how the program will be implemented. They are especially way of how the plan seemed to function as a “front” to promote electric-powered jeepneys and other vehicles that observe the Euro-4 emission standards.

After Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade threatened that the government would revoke the franchises and drivers’ licenses of those who would attend the planned two-day nationwide strike.

Tugade said that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are ready to act against jeepney drivers would join the strike.

“We have invited Piston to dialogues, but still they insisted on holding strikes. Other transport groups sat down with us and we discussed the program together. Why can’t Piston do that? I am positive that when they do, they will understand and they will agree that it is time to overhaul the public transportation system,” Tugade said in a statement.

Despite Tugade’s threat, though, San Mateo said that the DOTr has not yet provided its route rationalization plan, which is needed for those who want to get new franchises.

Even then, the Piston leader said that he was “willing” to get in prison for opposing the jeepney modernization plan.

“Ang mga e-jeepneys na dispalinghado at hindi angkop sa klimang tropikal at kabundukan ay nagkakahalaga ng P1.8 milyon, o kasinghalaga ng isang SUV (sports utility vehicle) na hindi kayang bilhin ng mga maliliit na operator. Ibabaon sa utang ang mga operator at tiyak na masaker sa kabuhayan nila ang patutunguhan nito,” San Mateo said.

Assistant transport secretary for communications Leah Quiambao said the government has the authority to cancel a franchise, considering how it is merely a “privilege granted by the state.”

A jeepney franchise can be revoked if they go on a strike, said Quiambao.

“Among the conditions upon the grant of franchise is that the [public utility vehicles] will not abandon their routes/lines and prejudice our commuters. Hence, ‘tigil-pasada’ is among the grounds for revocation of franchise,” he said.

In October, President Rodrigo Duterte warned jeepney drivers and operators to modernize by the end of 2017 or he would drag away old jeepneys.

“January 1, if you don’t modernize, get out,” said Duterte. “”I will give you until the end of the month or until the end of the year. Sumunod kayo kasi, January 1, ‘pag may makita akong jeep diyan na hindi nakarehistro, guguyurin ko ‘yan sa harap ninyo.”

Responding to criticisms from Piston and militant groups that the modernization program is anti-poor, Duterte said, “Mahirap kayo? Putang ina, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom, wala akong pakialam. It’s the majority of the Filipino people. Huwag ninyo ipasubo ang tao.”


Duterte even labeled the transport strike a “rebellion,” branding Piston and militant groups that joined the strike as “legal” fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines. He also pointed out how the Piston logo has a star in it, similar to the logo of the communists, something which netizens mocked because Piston’s logo does not have a star in it and the President’s logic is flawed.

Piston Metro Baguio reacted to Duterte’s response where he said he does not care that those who participated in the strike were poor.

“Sa presidenteng nagsabing mahirap kami, Sa lahat ng sinabi mo, ito na yata ang pinakatama. Natumbok nyo po mahal naming presidente!” the group said in their open letter to President Duterte that was posted on Facebook.

They talked about how it is true that they are indeed poor, which was why they need to wake up as early as 4 am and rest at around 9pm, while earning only P300 to P500; how they often wondered where to get the money to pay for their children’s schooling and other bills; and how the P80,000 subsidy from the government is too small to help them get the P1.6 million worth of modern jeepney.

“Mahirap kami. P#%*@! Mahirap kami. Kaya lilimusan mo kami ng P80,000 para makabili ng bagong modelong halagang P1,600,000? Kung pag-iipunan ko ito, kailangang doble ang arawang kita ko sa 14 oras na pamamasada. Mahirap kami, at nagsisikap, pero P#%*@!, hindi kami superman,” they wrote.

“Mahirap kami pero nagtatrabaho kami nang marangal para sa pamilya namin at para makatulong sa kapwa naming mahihirap na komyuter,” they added.

“Mahal naming presidente, mahirap kami pero huwag mo kami murahin dahil hindi mo kami pinapalamon,” Piston Metro Baguio said as they concluded their open letter.

There was also another viral letter from a proud son of a jeepney driver who attempted to explain why jeepney operators and drivers oppose the jeepney modernization program.

Reiner Grospe said it was through his father’s efforts as a jeepney driver that he was able to send his kids to good schools.

“We received quality education only privileged children can have. Thanks to this high school graduate, jeepney driver, who toiled all his days driving under the heat of sun, exposed in the polluted air, sitting right adjacent to the vehicle’s steaming hot engine – all these health hazards and more,” he wrote on Facebook on October 16.

He pointed out how slowly the jeepney fare was increasing compared to the rate of increase in price of basic necessities. Just like Piston, he also pointed out how these jeepney drivers can possibly afford to pay for the “eco-friendly” jeepney.

“I am for a better environment and I also find good in replacing old jeepneys. But our “privatized” government suggests to the drivers to avail of the ecofriendly jeepney loan that makes them pay incredibly and way more than the real price of the unit according to Piston,” Grospe wrote.

He also noted how these drivers work “not for profit” but for a living.

“What’s my point? My point is that this sector do what they do for a living and not for profit; to raise families and not to build empires; they are part of the economic cycle and not a pain in the ass. Maybe we can listen to them today. Lets help them take out from the government a better solution for them,” he added.

In preparation for the nationwide strike on December 4 and 5, some local governments have already suspended classes on December 4.


Sources: ( )


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Fake news sites to be aware of this 2018



With the widespread practice of misinformation using made-up stories and maliciously edited photos, Senate hearings have been conducted to determine whether new laws are needed to stop the spread of fake news. But you can contribute to the prevention of misinformation in your own way by not patronizing the content of the fake news sites that are causing confusion and baseless hate in the country.

In 2017, MemeBuster has published two lists containing websites that have posted fake stories.

The following are sites that MemeBuster has encountered while we are pursuing our cause of fighting fake news.

We have categorized the sites into active and inactive ones, seeing as how many fake news sites tend to be unavailable after some time. As of February 15, 2018, these are the active and inactive sources of fake news that we have encountered. We will continue to update this list as we bust more false stories.

Active Sites

1. has been an active source of fake stories that MemeBuster has debunked over and over again. It is also quite known for its ever changing About Us page, which now says that the site started out publishing fake stories for some La Sallian students’ thesis, but that it has stopped in May 2017 to focus on serious topics and general information. But La Salle Dasmarinas disowned the said research. even lied when they said they stopped posting fake news by May 2017. Even as late as December 2017, we still caught them publishing fake stories, among which are about Sanofi Pasteur research and development department revealing that they used embalming chemicals for Dengvaxia, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV hiring Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato as his personal bodyguards, former President Benigno Aquino saying he’s willing to return money he got from the Dengvaxia deal, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising visa-free entry to Filipino caregivers, and more.

This fake news site was also in our first list of fake news sites that we published in October 2016.

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Duterte raises bounty for killing communists to P25K



President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is increasing the bounty he is offering for anyone who can kill communist rebels, saying it will be cheaper compared to waging a counterinsurgency campaign. The offer is now up from P20,000 to P25,000.

Duterte made the announcement at the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacañang. The president also reiterated that his controversial war on drugs will stay despite criticisms over the thousands of deaths and a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the possibility of committing a crime against humanity.

Reckoning that the campaign against communists would last for at least four years, Duterte has made a counteroffer.

“If you’re a CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) or anybody here, you kill one NPA (New People’s Army member) and I will pay you P25,000. Kwenta-kwenta ko, mas makamura ako. Bilhin ko na lang itong mga yawa na ito (I calculated and realized it will save money. I might as well buy the devils),” he said.

He also stressed that he has nothing to fear as he has the Philippine Navy, Air Force, Army, and CAFGU.


In a recent speech to more than 200 rebels, Duterte also made a remark that soldiers can shoot female rebels “in their vaginas”. This comment did not sit well with women’s group Gabriela.

The president also reiterated his resolve to face the ICC and be put before a firing squad if he is found guilty of crimes against humanity to emulate Jose Rizal.

“Don’t worry about me, I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me, fine! I would love to experience what Rizal has experienced,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines denounced Duterte’s reward offer to Lumads for every killed communist rebel saying it promotes a culture of violence in the country.

Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo said that the statements promote a culture that normalizes violence and attacks the sanctity of life. He also urged the president to promote respect of the law instead of making such statements.

Sources: ( )


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How to spot fake news



How many times have you fallen for fake stories or seen friends and colleagues get victimized by misinformation? Two Senate hearings have been dedicated to discussing remedies to fight fake news in the country. But you don’t have to wait for any new laws to be created to contribute to the fight. You can do your part by identifying fake news and making sure that everyone who is willing to listen (or read) will know that a certain story is not factual at all.
Here are some eight pointers on how to distinguish fake news:

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Don’t take everything you read online to be true.

Netizens were duped by this obviously fake story with a headline “NASA hailed Duterte as the best president in the solar system.”

Check the URL. Some sites simply imitate the URLs of established news sources.

Some fake news and satirical sites are good at mimicking the URLs of reputable news sites simply by adding “,” “,” “tv-,” and others. Some also replace the letters in the URLs with numbers to trick people, such as or

Make sure the headline and/or image used matches the content.

Fake story makers take advantage of their readers’ tendencies to read only up to the headline or get their attention using some controversial photo that is actually not relevant to the content. The government-run news agency Philippine News Agency was slammed once for using a Vietnam war photo for a report about the Marawi siege.

Verify information by comparing information from competing sources.

Give yourself some peace of mind by ensuring that you check a story’s claims with different sources.

Check out fact-checking sites like and

Our website was founded amid the rise of memes that were deliberately made to spread disinformation during the 2016 elections,

with one of the more serious falsehoods being the meme that contained an invented quote from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong endorsing then Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. We also busted that story about the documents that spread online accusing former President Benigno Aquino III and other top government officials during his time of depositing gold in Thailand.

Vera Files is known more for fact-checking President Duterte’s claims when he makes speeches, such as his flip-flopping claims on his wealth, and the statements of other government officials.

Track down quotes and sources to see if everything in the story matches.

Many fake news writers have become quite good at masking the lies by mixing it with some facts. For instance, they would take a quote from a certain person and modify it. If you won’t check and triple check it, you’d really think that quote was accurate. A good example of that would be how a fake news site changed up current CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles’ statement, attributed it to former CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and made it seem as though Villegas was telling the government to leave the NPA alone.

Watch out for “filter bubbles” that show only items based on personalized searches and be more conscious in engaging in diverse content.

Website algorithm may guess what you would like to see based on your search history and online behavior, which may lead to you seeing only information that agree with your beliefs and opinions. To avoid this, you have to ensure that you have access to diverse news from well-established sources.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

This is where the need to verify things often start. A world of information is at your fingertip. Just type a few words in the search engine bar, apply the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be on your merry way to discovering whether the story you are reading is true or not.


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