LTFRB stresses, 'no phaseout' in jeepney modernization plan

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16)—The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday stressed that it will "not phaseout" the traditional jeepneys but will instead "modernize" or rehabilitate it.

As part of the modernization plan, the regulatory board said that existing units will be modernized by changing its engines and following the Philippine National Standards (PNS).

"Kapag sinabi kasing 'phaseout' tatanggalin mo 'yung jeepneys eh [If we say 'phaseout' it means jeepneys will be removed entirely]. Hindi [No], we're just changing it to modern units," LTFRB Technical Chief Joel Bolano explained during a presscon.

"Napakalaki po ng disinformation sa ground. Ang kinatatakutan kasi ng tsuper natin ngayon 'yung phase-out. Lagi po namin inuulit na wala pong phaseout," LTFRB, CESO-V Chairperson Teofilo Guadiz added.

[Translation: The disinformation is huge on the ground. The jeepney drivers are scared that their units will be phased out. We're saying again and again, there is no phaseout.]

Bolano said there will be no fixed design for the modernized jeepneys provided that the units will comply with the standard.

He added that operators and drivers are not necessarily required to buy mini buses.

"Ang requirement po ng ating engine [ay] Euro-4 for better emission," he said.

[Translation: We are requiring them to use Euro-4 engines for better emission.]

"Simplified" consolidation requirement

Guadiz clarified that the consolidation deadline for the modernization program only requires drivers and operators to file or list their names in the program, adding that the other requirements can be finished after Dec. 31.

"Hindi mo lahat kailangan kumpletuhin lahat ng requirements until Dec. 31, ang hinihingi lang po namin mag-file kayo ng petition for consolidation [We are not requiring them to finish all the requirements until Dec. 31. We only require them to file for the consolidation.] That is substantial compliance, pasok na po kayo sa programa," he added.

After filing consolidation, he said that "we will give you a certain amount of time to complete the consolidation process."

The consolidation means that operators and drivers will be "under one name." Bolano then said that it is requiring consolidation so that the amortization will be paid by the transport service entity.

Meanwhile, around 100,000 jeepney drivers and operators are expected to join the three-day transportation strike next week that will be led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON), the group's leader said Thursday.

READ: 100,000 jeepney drivers, operators expected to join transport strike next week PISTON

Guadiz also said that he will be proposing a "lease-to-own" concept where drivers and operators will not have to pay down payment for the modernized units as part of the modernization program, adding that when the vehicles get damaged, the manufacturers will change the unit at no expense.

"Ang hihiram po [ng loan] ay ang mga kooperatiba, pero meron po ako ngayong gingawa na…list to own, walang downpayment sa operator, ‘yung jeep ang mag-me-maintain, ‘yung manufacturer, may sweldo po si driver, may kita rin si kooperatiba.

[Translation: The loan will be paid by the cooperative, but we are making a list-to-own concept, no down payment for the operator, the jeep will be maintained by the manufacturer, and drivers will have a daily salary and cooperatives will earn.] READ: PISTON to hold transport strike next week

LTFRB recommends no suspension

In the same briefing, Guadiz recommended to schools and offices not to suspend classes and work days due to the looming strike starting Nov. 20.

He said its outcome will not be different from the one staged in October by Manibela, which failed to paralyze public transportation.

"Walang impact, diretso dapat lamang po ang pasok ng publiko, pribado, at saka mga eskwelahan po natin," Guadiz said.

[Translation: No impact, there should be classes and work days for the public, private, and schools.]