Solons ask: Where are we on the PUV modernization program?
More than a year after the launch of the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP), members of the House of Representatives have demanded updates on the massive program aimed at solving the country’s perennial woes on transportation and traffic.
“Where are we now (on this program)?” House transportation panel chair, Rep. Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes asked during the second technical working (TWG) group meeting of the committee on the modernization program vis-à-vis anti-colorum drives.
In a position paper submitted to the TWG, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Martin Delgra III said since the signing of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) on PUVMP on July 19, 2017, they have devolved the function of route planning to the local government units (LGUs).
They said LGUs “are more versed” in the terrain and passenger demand and behavior within their respective territorial jurisdictions.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Mark de Leon meanwhile said they are now on the process of hiring a consultant who would lead a study on a comprehensive route rationalization.
While in their three-year transition period, Delgra said they had given franchises to operators and had created at least five new routes in Metro Manila, and others in Mindoro, Caraga, Cagayan, Iloilo, Tacloban City, and General Santos City.
The new routes in the metropolis, he said, include routes from the Cultural Center of the Philippines to the Mall of Asia, Eastwood, Taguig to Pateros, and Lawton to Litex, among others.
But when asked if they were still on-target a year after the program’s rollout, Delgra admitted that there was a need to assess it.
Sarmiento also pointed this out, saying that the program had “no clear” results yet.
“Nag-request ako to submit to us updates, where are we now?” Sarmiento told reporters. “Ano’ng naging problema? Kaya ba natin?”
“Well kung sa tingin ninyo nababagalan kayo, sa aming pananaw, it’s more than a year already but it seems hindi pa ganun kalinaw ang resulta ng PUV modernization,” he lamented.
Commuters not represented
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon expressed disappointment at how, even during meetings and consultations like this, commuters were not represented.
“Unfortunately even here, ‘di naman represented ang commuters eh. But I myself am a commuter… I don’t hear their interest being talked about now, puro business interest of operators, how to make profits,” Biazon said, stressing that the riding public is the principal stakeholder in the issue.
The government’s PUVMP is composed of three key elements according to Delgra: fleet modernization, consolidating franchises, and fleet management of the route by the operators.
While the OFG was a “product of good planning and extensive consultations,” he admitted that it is “not perfect” especially that they are faced with insufficient manpower in the transportation agencies. /je
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