DOTr firm on December 31 deadline for franchise consolidation of PUVs
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) remains firm on enforcing the December 31 deadline for the application of franchise consolidation of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs), Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista has said.
Bautista stressed that the deadline is fixed and is set to make the transport sector more efficient and more sustainable.
“Yung consolidation gagawin natin yan sa December 31 para mas maging efficient ang operations ng transport sector. Kasi kung mag-ooperate tayo individually, hindi masyadong magiging sustainable [ang operations],” he said in an interview over Radyo Singko on Wednesday.
(We will conduct the consolidation on December 31 to make the operations of the transport sector more efficient. Because if we operate individually, the operations may not be as sustainable.)
“Mag-apply na po sila, bukas po ang mga opisina ng LTFRB [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board], Office [of] Transportation Cooperatives, hanggang December 30. Kahit bakasyon iyan tatanggapin namin ang kanilang application,” Bautista added, urging drivers and operators to apply despite December 30 being a holiday.
(They can already apply, the offices of LTFRB and the Office [of] Transportation Cooperatives will be open until December 30. Even during the holidays, we will accept their applications.)
The Secretary likewise said that operators who have consolidated told him that their operations have become more efficient.
“They have their own dispatching, they have proper vehicle maintenance, and they ensure fair wages for their drivers,” he noted.
Bautista’s statements come amid resistance to the government’s PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) from various transport groups in the country.
The groups decry the PUVMP which mandates drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys and utility van units to consolidate into cooperatives and corporations before December 31, or risk losing their jobs.
Mandatory franchise consolidation is one of the initial steps in the PUVMP implementation.
This means that only one franchise, held by a single cooperative or corporation, will be permitted to operate on a specific route.
In a statement on Thursday, transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) expressed worry over the possibility that consolidation may result in a “monopoly by a few large cooperatives or corporations with the necessary financial capacity to comply with the hefty capital requirements for ‘modernizing’.”
Some drivers and operators who have already undergone consolidation likewise assailed the process, saying that it only caused them debt and crippling financial losses – in stark contrast with Bautista’s claims.
Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc have already filed a resolution urging the LTFRB to defer the December 31 deadline for the application of franchise consolidation.