DOTr eyes higher subsidies for buying modern jeeps

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — Officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will hold a workshop in April to discuss the possibility of raising subsidies for transport cooperatives and traditional jeepney operators interested in buying modern vehicles.

DOTr Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor told lawmakers at the hearing of the House Committee on Transportation that other aspects of the omnibus franchising guidelines for public utility vehicles (PUVs) will also be reviewed at the meeting set from April 12 to 14.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will provide a ₱160,000 subsidy for public utility jeeps (PUJ) and UV express operators who want to buy modern vehicles, if they take out a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines or the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Tinitingnan naming itaas uli yung equity subsidy to be more responsive sa pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan," Pastor said. "We commit that in the next coming weeks, we will release a department order and memorandum circular to increase our equity subsidy."

[Translation: We are checking how to elevate the equity subsidy to be more responsive to the needs of our countrymen.]

The loan would be payable in seven years and has an annual interest of six percent.

Should transport cooperatives and PUJ operators choose to borrow from private and cooperative banks, the subsidy would range from ₱210,000 to ₱360,000, depending on the vehicle’s capacity.

Pastor said buying modern jeeps, which cost an average of ₱1.4 million to ₱2.6 million per unit, would be less of a financial burden for PUJ operators if they were to join a transport cooperative.

Pag nag-consolidate po, ang bibili ng unit hindi na si individual operator. Yung cooperative na. It will be owned by the cooperative,” he explained. “Yung resources po ng mga miyembro ng cooperative will be pooled and mapo-professionalized in a sense yung pagpapatakbo ng ruta.”

[Translation: If they consolidate, the one buying the unit will not be the individual operator, but the cooperative. It will be owned by the cooperative. The resources of the members of the cooperative will be pooled and professionalized in the system of the routes.]

The LTFRB has set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2023 for the consolidation of PUJ units.

However, Pastor said there would be no phase out of traditional jeeps if some operators fail to join a cooperative by the end of the year.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, urged the DOTr to support local manufacturers and retain the iconic look of old jeepneys for the modern jeeps.

Pastor admitted that the DOTr has not approved a standard design for modern jeeps, saying that manufacturers only need to comply with guidelines regarding the engine, capacity and size of the new vehicles.

AGRI Party-list Representative Wilbert Lee said the current design of modernized jeepney is confusing as it looks like a mini-bus.