DOTr chief to PUV operators: April 30 deadline is final

DOTr chief to PUV operators: April 30 deadline is final

P170.6-B Naia rehab project attracts 4 bidders

Jaime Bautista —DOTR FB PAGE

This time, it’s final.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday urged public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers to take their eighth chance to form transport cooperatives as part of the consolidation process in the PUV modernization program, after President Marcos moved the deadline to April 30.


“After April 30, we will no longer recommend [another] extension. This is already the eighth extension,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said, adding that it was only due to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s “magnanimity” that transport groups were given a three-month respite.


“We hope that those who failed to consolidate will be able to meet this requirement in three months’ time,” the transport chief told a press conference in Mandaluyong City.

READ: Marcos moves PUV consolidation deadline to April 30, 2024

The PUV modernization program (PUVMP), implemented by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), requires all PUVs to consolidate their franchises by forming transport cooperatives or corporations in order to avail themselves, among other services, of government assistance in modernizing and managing their fleets.

This is part of a process toward the phaseout of traditional jeepneys and their replacement with eco-friendly but more expensive modern jeepneys that are to be partly subsidized by the government.

Pending appeals from regions

The previous deadline for consolidation was Dec. 31, 2023, but in response to the clamor of transport groups, Marcos approved Bautista’s recommendation for yet another extension.

“This extension is to give an opportunity to those who expressed intention to consolidate but did not make the previous cutoff,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said in a statement released on Wednesday night.

READ: Deadline extension of PUV consolidation not enough – Makabayan bloc

Bautista said he hoped the LTFRB and concerned agencies “will use the extension period to improve the program’s guidelines in line with raised concerns, particularly here in Metro Manila.”


“We still believe the program’s benefits outweigh its perceived deficiencies,” he said, adding that he recommended the extension to the President after the special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Bautista cited pending appeals in regional offices, including in the National Capital Region (NCR), asking to be allowed to consolidate or for existing cooperatives and corporations to admit new members beyond the deadline for consolidation.

“Our recommendation for an extension was based on the number of unconsolidated drivers and operators especially here in the National Capital Region,” he said.

Bautista maintained that the extension was intended to accommodate those who wished to join the program, not those who were firmly against it.

At the same press conference, LTFRB Chair Teofilo Guadiz III said the extension would give a “second chance” to those unable to consolidate, including those who were “misled” by certain groups into not joining.

190K PUVs complied

Because of the new deadline, the LTFRB’s plan to apprehend unconsolidated PUVs starting Feb. 1 would have to be shelved in the meantime, the official said.

But drivers and operators must ensure that their units are registered in line with the government’s drive against “colorum,” or illegal PUVs, Guadiz said.

According to Bautista, the nationwide consolidation rate of 76 percent was “more than enough” to implement the PUVMP. With more expected to join following the extension, the DOTr will be targeting an 85-percent consolidation rate to make the program “very successful,” he said.

As of mid-January, operators and owners of some 190,000 PUV units have already complied with the consolidation requirement, including traditional jeepneys, UV Express, minibuses and buses, the PCO said, citing LTFRB figures. Official data also showed the following consolidation rates: UV Express, 82-percent consolidation; jeepneys, 75 percent; buses, 86 percent; and minibuses, 45 percent.

A total of 1,728 cooperatives and corporations with 262,344 members have been established so far under the modernization program, the PCO said.

The three-month extension is “adequate” for jeepney operators and drivers to comply with the requirement for them to modernize their fleets, Obet Martin, president of transport group Pasang Masda, said during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing on Thursday.

Martin welcomed Marcos’ approval of the three-month extension as he said this would allow “misinformed” PUV operators and drivers to ask questions and eventually apply for consolidation into transport cooperatives.

But he warned that moving the deadline any further might lead to the PUVMP getting stalled.

“If the extension is still not enough, then we all have to work together. We won’t get anywhere if we keep on extending this. The three-month extension, in my opinion, is adequate,” he said.

Push for suspension, review

Martin defended the modernization program as the government’s effort to upgrade the public transportation sector, saying it was not just for commuters but also for the benefit of drivers and operators.

“We’ve been left behind in Asia. In other countries, they have very good transport systems. Here, our modern jeeps will also upgrade our drivers and make the experience convenient and safe for our passengers,” Martin said.

But Manibela president Mar Valbuena, whose group was among those protesting the PUVMP, said his organization would continue to push for the suspension and review of the program, although it welcomed the deadline extension.

“We single operators who wish to continue to earn a living and also wish to modernize—our desire [to not consolidate] should be respected since we are not violating any law,” he said in a video message on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, LTFRB-NCR Director Zona Tamayo said she hoped the 52-percent consolidation rate in Metro Manila would improve in the next three months.

She said this figure was based on the estimated 40,000 franchises issued in the capital region. There are 22,284 registered public utility jeepneys in Metro Manila and of this number, 21,655, or 97.18 percent, have already consolidated.

Tamayo said the regional office was tracking down franchise holders who had not registered or consolidated in the past two years to determine whether they had stopped or were still plying their routes.

Also on Thursday, lawmakers from the opposition Makabayan bloc said the extension would not truly address the problems raised against the PUV modernization, saying the government was better off scrapping the program entirely.

In separate statements, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel said jeepney drivers’ woes would only persist despite the deadline extension, as it did not fix such issues as the steep cost of modern jeepneys and the refusal of jeepney drivers and operators to give up individual franchises.

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“It is highly illogical for the Marcos administration to just extend the deadline,” said Brosas, adding: “All the issues point to only one solution: junk the mandatory franchise consolidation and the antipoor modernization program to protect our jeepney drivers’ livelihood.” —WITH A REPORT FROM KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING


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