Marcos takes firm stance on deadline for PUV consolidation | Inquirer News

Marcos takes firm stance on deadline for PUV consolidation

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:50 AM December 13, 2023

SHORT BREAK An elderly jeepney driver rests in between trips along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City in this photo taken in October. —LYN RILLON

SHORT BREAK An elderly jeepney driver rests in between trips along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City in this photo taken in October. —LYN RILLON

President Marcos stood pat against extending the Dec. 31 deadline for consolidating public utility vehicle (PUV) operators following a meeting with transport officials on Tuesday.

“Today, we held a meeting with transport officials, and it was decided that the deadline for the consolidation of PUV operators will not be extended,” the President said on his social media pages.


Mr. Marcos noted that 70 percent of operators “have already committed to and consolidated” under the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP).


“We cannot let the minority cause further delays, affecting majority of our operators, banks, financial institutions and the public at large,” the President said.

“Adhering to the current timeline ensures that everyone can reap the benefits of the full operationalization of our modernized public transport system. Hence, the scheduled timeline will not be moved,” he added.

Under the guidelines that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued in 2017, PUV operators and drivers must form transport cooperatives or similar legal entities.

These groups will be entitled to government subsidies, access to credit facilities, and other assistance to help modernize their fleets.

‘Safety nets’

However, groups opposed to the modernization program dispute the claim that 70 percent of transport operators have complied with it, saying that figure covers all types of PUVs.

In contrast, they said only 26 percent of jeepneys and 36 percent of UV Express vehicles in Metro Manila have been consolidated.


One lawmaker has criticized the government’s insistence on its deadline.

“Where’s the government’s [assistance] for the [PUV] modernization? The DOTr has been adamant in setting a deadline without providing help,” Sen. Grace Poe said in a statement.

“Our calls for a thorough study of the PUV modernization (program) before the DOTr imposes a deadline is just reasonable,” said the senator, who heads the Senate public services committee.

Poe insisted that the modernization plan did not have the required “safety nets” to protect jeepney drivers and operators.

At least P63 billion is needed to subsidize the modernization of some 300,000 jeepneys nationwide, she said.

But the DOTr allotted only P1.6 billion for the program in its budget for next year, according to Poe.

“It is alarming to see that the protective mechanisms that we have been pushing were not included in the budget for the PUV modernization program,” she said.

Transport groups have gone on strike repeatedly in protest of the PUVMP, which began with the previous administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

But on Tuesday, hundreds of jeepney drivers and operators staged rallies in Mendiola in Manila and in Quezon City to show their support for the program.

The United Transport Consolidated Entities of the Philippines urged the government to stick to its deadline for franchise consolidation.

“They should keep the deadline so we can all move forward,” said the group’s chair, Edmundo Cadavona.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Teofilo Guadiz III welcomed this support.

“This only shows that most of our transport groups in the country support the government’s initiative of providing commuters with safer, more efficient, and environmentally sustainable transport,” he said in a statement.

He reiterated that the consolidation deadline did not mean traditional jeepneys would no longer be allowed to ply their routes next year.

Meanwhile, transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) will push through with its two-day nationwide strike on Thursday and Friday.

“The government has no clear basis to insist on the deadline. They will only worsen the suffering of the public,” the group said in a statement.

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It warned, further, that over 60,000 drivers and 25,000 operators could be displaced by the modernization program. —WITH REPORTS FROM JEROME ANING, FRANCES MANGOSING AND MARLON RAMOS INQ

TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., public utility vehicles, PUV modernization program

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