Senate panel kickstarts hearing to defer traditional jeepney phaseout
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate public services and finance committees on Thursday kickstarted their discussion on the impending phaseout of traditional jeepneys in a bid to avert the looming weeklong transport strike.
This was prompted by Senate Resolution No. 44, authored by basic services panel chairperson Sen. Grace Poe and unanimously adopted by the upper chamber, which urges the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to defer the planned phaseout as part of the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.
The LTFRB had already announced another extension in the validity of the provisional authorities or franchises of traditional jeepneys from June 30 to Dec. 31.
But LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said it was not brought by pressure from the strike since he argued that at least 90 percent of transport groups have signified support for the modernization plan.
He noted that the move was drawn from the advice of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who on Wednesday appealed for transport groups to reconsider and cancel their strike.
While Marcos said the modernization program is necessary, he admitted that the implementation of the government was not good and can still be improved.
Transport group Manibela said, however, that the strike will push through from March 6 to March 12. It also slammed local government units for supposedly promising them financial assistance–a move that, it believes, is just being done to pacify traditional jeepney operators.