Transport groups firm on call to scrap jeepney franchise consolidation

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) – Transportation groups have urged the government to still grant jeepney drivers and operators a five-year franchise even if they refuse to join a cooperative.

The three-day protest from Nov. 20 to 22 stemmed from the Dec. 31 deadline for franchise consolidation under the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

Hindi po namin gagawin [ang pag file ng petition to consolidate] kasi itong unang hakbang para ma-phaseout,” Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena told reporters on Tuesday.

[Translation: We are not going to file a petition to consolidate because this is the first step for the jeepney phaseout.]

Ang franchise consolidation ay pang-agaw sa mga indibidwal na prangkisa na ang katumbas ay phaseout," Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) said in a statement. "Hindi lang phaseout ng sasakyan ang tinutukoy natin dito, kundi phaseout ng kabuhayan."

[Translation: A franchise consolidation is an act of stealing a franchise, an equivalent to a phaseout. We’re not just referring to the phaseout of jeepneys but also the phaseout of livelihoods.]

Speaking to the media, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) spokesperson Celine Pialago said the regulatory board can simplify the process of consolidating jeepneys as it is non-negotiable to scrap the move to form a cooperative.

She added that the LTFRB is open to revising the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and extending the jeepney franchise to five years.

LTFRB is also willing to waive traffic-related penalties so that jeepney drivers and operators can renew their vehicle registration, Pialago said.

Valbuena announced that Manibela will hold its three-day strike starting Wednesday (Nov. 22).

At least 200,000 PUV drivers and operators are expected to join from across the country. Valbuena said strike centers will be set up in Novaliches, Monumento in Caloocan, Manila, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasig, Valenzuela, Marikina, and Project 4 in Quezon City.

PISTON Cebu earlier announced that it will also hold a strike on Wednesday.

Valbuena said PUV modernization can be attained through jeepney rehabilitation, as some drivers and operators cannot afford to replace their old vehicles with more expensive units.

Pialago explained that traditional PUVs can still be used as long as the Land Transportation Office finds them to be roadworthy.

The latest data from the LTFRB showed that 56% or 96,000 of the franchises of 170,000 jeepneys across the country have consolidated.