Senators want indefinite postponement of jeepney franchise consolidation

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — Senators on Thursday pushed transportation officials to indefinitely postpone the deadline for the public utility jeepney (PUJ) franchise consolidation, which was extended until the end of the year.

Senator Grace Poe noted that the national government itself is not yet ready to implement the PUV Modernization Program as the route plans from local government units are not yet finished, with only 139 out of 985 submissions so far approved.

“Ayusin niyo muna yung mga problema ninyo, yung coordination with the LGU, lahat yan, bago kayo magbigay ng deadline. Para sa akin dapat open ended. Thank you, at least, you are making an effort, in-extend niyo. Pampa-pogi lang ‘yun. Hindi pa kayo ready by December,” said Poe in a Senate hearing.

[Translation: Fix your problems first, such as the coordination with the LGUs, before you impose a deadline. This should be open-ended. Thank you, at least, you are making an effort, you extended it. But it’s just for the purpose to make you look good. You are not really ready by December.]

“Mali na sabihin na hindi phase out yan by December. Kasi kapag hindi nga sila nakapag-consolidate by that time, tanggal na rin sila,” she added.

[Translation: It’s wrong to say that it will not be a phase out by December. Because if they fail to consolidate by that time, they will no longer be able to operate.]

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday announced that the deadline for public utility jeepney franchise consolidation was extended from June 30 to Dec. 31 this year. In effect, franchises of all traditional jeepneys are also extended until the end of the year.

LTFRB data showed 98,801 PUJs have already been consolidated,.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros also shared Poe’s sentiment.

“Wag niyo na lang i-extend ng patingi-tingi. Sabihan niyo na kaming lahat, with all the stakeholders’ input, kung gaano kahaba ang panahon talagang kailangan para maayos at kumpletong maganap ang isang PUV modernization program,” she said.

[Translation: Don’t extend the deadline piece by piece. Inform us already, with all the stakeholders’ input, on how long it should take to organize and completely implement a PUV modernization program.]

The franchise consolidation is one of the requirements of the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program, which started in 2017 with the aim of improving and making the transport sector more environmentally sustainable.

However, some transport groups described the program as anti-poor, as drivers will shoulder the burden of modernizing their vehicles. One modern jeepney could cost up to P2.8 million.

The LTFRB said 6,814 modern jeepneys currently ply the roads.

For its part, the LTFRB explained that the Dec. 31 deadline does not necessarily mean a total phase out of the traditional jeepneys.

“The deadline for Dec. 31 is not for the phase out of the jeepneys. The deadline is only for the consolidation urging the drivers to come together, consolidate as one, and start the formation of a cooperative in pursuit of modernization,” said LTFRB chief Teofilo Guadiz III. “After the consolidation, there will still be other stages of the modernization scheme.”

The DOTr, on the other hand, said a deadline should be set despite the appeals from the senators.

“Hindi pwedeng maging open-ended po ito. Kasi kung hindi tayo magbibigay ng deadline, walang susunod. Hindi po natin mai-implement itong PUV Modernization Program if we don’t impose deadlines," said Secretary Jaime Bautista.

[Translation: This cannot be open-ended. If we will not impose a deadline, no one will follow. We cannot implement the PUV Modernization Program if we don’t impose deadlines.]