Solons urge LTFRB to rethink mandatory PUV consolidation

Solons urge LTFRB to rethink mandatory PUV consolidation

Rep. Acop warns it may be 'unconstitutional'
/ 04:23 PM January 31, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers have asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to rethink the mandatory consolidation for jeepney drivers and operators, with Antipolo 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop warning that such a requirement might be unconstitutional.

During the later part of the House committee on transportation hearing on Wednesday, Acop, who chairs the said panel, asked lawyers with the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) if they agree with Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

When the lawyers agreed, Acop asked why they were still pushing for consolidation, knowing that the franchises of jeepney drivers, once consolidated with a corporation or a cooperative, would be deemed surrendered and could not be returned to individuals.


“According to your circulars, you can just terminate the certificate of public conveniences of franchise owners.  Tama po ba (Is this correct) […] I would like to remind you that property means the livelihood of each and every individual that it is individual or personal property.  Would you agree with that?” Acop asked.


“Section 1 ‘yon ng Article III, ng Constitution.  Now, kayo, as LTFRB, kina-cancel niyo na lang ‘yong franchise ng mga drivers at saka operators eh (Now, you, as LTFRB, just cancel the franchise of drivers and then operators)?  And without extending any due process of law,” he added.

Lawyer and LTFRB Board Member Mercy Jane Paras-Leynes disagreed with Acop, saying that it is wrong to claim that there is no due process given because what the State provides to jeepney drivers and operators are franchises and not a right to service passengers.

“You can just do that. It’s here in the readings that you submitted.  You are forcing jeepney drivers to consolidate; you are using the police power of the State to coerce these individual franchise holders to join cooperatives,” Acop said.

“The certificates of public convenience issued by the state through the LTFRB, Mr. Chair, is a franchise and not a right within the meaning of the due process clause of the Constitution, hence subject to the exercise of police power of the State,” Leynes replied.

When Acop asked Leynes if LTFRB was not violating laws by asking jeepney drivers to consolidate or be unable to operate after the deadline, the LTFRB official insisted that they had already satisfied the requirements of due process.

This prompted Acop to say that he would have gone to the Supreme Court already if he had a jeepney operator.


“In coming up with this program and giving them deadlines — the operators — to consolidate, are you not violating the right also?” Acop asked again.

“No, Mr. Chair, because the due process requirement of the equal protection clause has two aspects, Mr. Chair, the substantive aspect and the procedural aspect.  And the LTFRB, in our opinion, has complied with both aspects of due process, Mr. Chair, so that anyone can be deprived of such franchise,” Leynes said.

“If I were an operator, I would have gone to the Supreme Court.  That’s why I’m giving an avenue to the legal officers of organizations, telling them that they have a recourse to go to the Supreme Court.  Why?  Because I believe that because of what you’re doing, you’re forcing them to join any organization, and each and every citizen of this country is entitled to join or not to join any organization,” Acop countered.

Before Acop, several lawmakers like ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Santa Cruz City Rep. Dan Fernandez also took notice of the alleged flaws in the consolidation requirement of the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

Under a consolidation, individual drivers or operators are required to join a cooperative or a corporation, which would then facilitate the modernization of the fleet.

The deadline for the consolidation requirement was last December 31, 2023, but it was extended to January 31.  Then on January 24, Malacañang announced that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had decided to extend the deadline anew to April 30, 2024.

According to Castro, she understands that there are some instances where consolidation works for jeepney drivers and operators, but they should be left to decide what would be the best for them.

“This consolidation of franchise, we cannot impose this.  Actually, requiring people to join or not to join any organization — whether that be a cooperative or a corporation — violates the Constitution,” Castro said in Filipino.

“What our resource speakers are presenting here proves that there are some successful attempts to consolidate into cooperatives, corporations, et cetera, so let it be, right?  But there are also individuals who can observe the modernization standards and follow them without having to consolidate,” she added.

Meanwhile, Santa Cruz City Rep. Dan Fernandez said LTFRB cannot deny that the consolidation requirement is the source of problems and concerns with the PUV modernization program.

“We know that the real problem is the consolidation; even if the DOTr and LTFRB deny it, these drivers and operators would not insist on going here and wasting their time if they were not threatened in renewing their franchise, registration because you are really pushing for the consolidation,” he said.

“But no less than the Speaker of the House has mentioned […] that the root of the problem is the consolidation, and he will suggest and we will tell the President that one of the solutions that must be addressed is to make the consolidation an optional [program].  So I think we have to read between the lines,” he added

The said panel has held at least three hearings on the PUV modernization program, as Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez feared that corrupt schemes are affecting the initiative.

Over the past hearings, lawmakers have questioned the alleged preference for imported new jeepneys over locally-made vehicles, the need for a consolidation requirement, and LTFRB’s supposed lack of preparedness and unawareness regarding the impact of a phaseout.

Other lawmakers also expressed doubts that the Department of Transportation can fulfill its assurance that there would be no public transport shortage once the consolidation requirement takes effect, noting that alternatives are few in provinces.

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READ: Speaker vows to inform Marcos of PUV drivers’ plight 

TAGS: franchise consolidation, LTFRB

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