Bautista: Consolidation of jeepney drivers, operators is non-negotiable
MANILA, Philippines — Amid a week-long transport strike, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday said that the consolidation of jeepney drivers and operators is a “non-negotiable” component of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
“One very important issue that is non-negotiable is industry consolidation because we really need the players to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations,“ said Bautista on the sidelines of the Stratbase ADR Institute Pilipinas Conference on Wednesday.
“Sabi ko nga hindi namin pwedeng pagbigyan yung ayaw nilang magconsolidate. Sa tingin namin this is an important component of PUVMP,” he added.
(I said we can’t allow those who don’t want to consolidate. We think this is an important component of PUVMP.)
Bautista said this amid a week-long transport strike conducted by Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) and Manibela in protest of the December 31 deadline for the consolidation of traditional public utility jeepneys.
Meanwhile, on the demand of Piston to extend the validity of PUV franchises to 5 years, Bautista said this can already be done to new vehicles.
On availing of fuel subsidy while the vehicle franchise is being transferred. The Secretary explained that PUV drivers and operators must only show valid documents of the franchise’s transfer to avail of the subsidy.
“Sabi nga namin kung maipapakita yung documents ay tama, kahit di pa natatransfer yung franchise ibibigay namin sa kanila yung fuel subsidy,” he added.
(As we’ve already said, if the documents shown are valid and correct, even if the franchise has not yet been transferred, we will give them the fuel subsidy.)
Bautista, who claimed that the DOTr has the support of various transport groups, reiterated that both the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) offices are open for dialogue.
The Secretary’s sentiments were similar to LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz III, who on Tuesday bared that three of Piston’s demands were “doable,” including the waiving of penalties for jeepney operators’ in their yearly confirmation fees and revising the omnibus franchising guidelines.
Guadiz also said that they are willing to extend the validity of operators’ and drivers’ franchises from one to five years, but they should first be part of a cooperative to be granted a five-year franchise.
Likewise, Guadiz stated that the consolidation of drivers and operators into cooperatives is “non-negotiable.”