Senators bat for postponement of traditional jeepney phase out
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Tuesday called on the postponement of the phaseout of traditional jeepneys on June 30.
“To enforce a deadline is not only insanity, but also inhumane. Hindi makatao (It is not humane). It is contrary to the Constitutional directive to promote social justice in all phases of national development,” Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services said in a privilege speech during the plenary session
“It is also contrary to the public welfare, as it will compound the acute shortage of public transportation modes in the country. Tignan na lamang natin ang mga pila tuwing rush hour. Naghahabulan,” she added.
(Just look at the lines during rush hour. Commuters are running after public utility vehicles.)
Under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, existing jeepney operators should consolidate and form fleets of 15 modern jeepneys which will ply routes created by local government units.
A modern jeepney costs up to P2.8 million. Poe lamented that jeepney drivers do not have “deep pockets.”
“The most recent study estimates that their average daily take home pay is a meager P755,” she said.
The senator pointed out that a route rationalization is needed under the PUV Modernization Program, but the Department of Transportation has yet to carry it out.
Poe stressed that she is not against modernization, but wants to make it easier to achieve.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Poe said, is deaf to the plight of commuters and drivers.
Last week, Poe filed Senate Resolution No. 507 urging the LTFRB to postpone the scheduled phaseout.
All senators were made co-authors of Poe’s resolution which was eventually adopted in the plenary.
Various transport groups bared plans to stage a weeklong strike starting March 6 to protest the looming phaseout of traditional jeepneys.
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