DOTr defends PUVMP, cites accidents | Inquirer News

DOTr defends PUVMP, cites accidents

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 04:50 AM January 23, 2024

NOT UP TO US The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board says the choice of jeepney model, like the ones shown above, was up to drivers and operators who may pick from those made locally or abroad. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board says the choice of jeepney model, like the ones shown above, was up to drivers and operators who may pick from those made locally or abroad. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — A road accident in Laguna province involving a passenger jeepney that left two people dead, including a 2-year-old girl, was among the reasons cited by authorities for implementing the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) despite opposition from transport groups.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza II said the Jan. 19 accident was one of the “major reasons” why Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista has been firm in his decision not to further defer the “much-needed” program.


“This is not the first tragedy on the road which involved an old public utility vehicle. There were similar instances in the past, and these will continuously happen if the government does not act to modernize and improve the situation of public transportation in our country,” Mendoza said in a statement on Sunday.


Based on a police report, the driver of the passenger jeepney lost control of the steering wheel after the vehicle’s brakes failed in Nagcarlan town on Jan. 19.

The jeepney hit the two victims and rammed into other vehicles before it stopped.

The fatalities were Henry Audije, 45, who was crossing the road, and Sandra Margarette Arevalo, 2, who was on an e-bike. They were brought to the hospital but were declared dead on arrival. Fifteen other people suffered injuries.

Vehicle malfunction is one of the reasons behind fatal accidents in the country and for Mendoza, this should not be the case especially for PUVs since they should always be checked to ensure their roadworthiness.

The DOTr under Bautista has been pushing for the reduction of road accidents in the country by 35 percent before President Marcos steps down in 2028.

In the Philippines, based on the data of the World Health Organization, around 32 people die every day due to road accidents.


Job losses

Despite repeated assurances from the government, transport group Piston warned of massive job losses and the disruption of public transport, especially in Metro Manila by Feb. 1, when unconsolidated PUVs would no longer be allowed to operate.

The government set a Dec. 31, 2023, deadline for PUVS to consolidate their franchises as one of the requirements under the program. Those who failed to comply with the deadline face the revocation of their franchises starting on Feb. 1 this year, making them “colorum” or illegal PUVs and subject to impounding.

“It is clear that the forced franchise consolidation scheme of the Marcos government is a failure. Thousands of drivers and operators stand to lose their livelihood if the government will not budge in implementing the PUVMP,” Piston national president Mody Floranda said in a statement on Monday.

“It is more sensible to just scrap the program altogether and think of better ways to implement a more progressive public transport system,” he added.

According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the national consolidation rate as of Friday was at 76 percent or 145,721 out of the more than 190,000 PUV units in the country.

For jeepneys, 73.96 percent have consolidated nationwide, and 82 percent for UV Express vans.

In the National Capital Region, which has the lowest consolidation rate nationwide, it was 51 percent for jeepneys and 59 percent for UV Express vans.

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Data from the LTFRB showed that after the Dec. 31, 2023 deadline for consolidation, there were a total of 395 jeepney routes (out of 871) and 105 UV Express van routes (out of 326) in Metro Manila that have unconsolidated units.

TAGS: Department of Transportation, public utility vehicles, PUV modernization program

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