LTFRB: Duterte’s deadline for jeepney phaseout an expression of urgency
The January 1 deadline President Rodrigo Duterte gave for the phase out of old jeepney units was simply an “expression of urgency,” Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra said on Thursday.
“I’d like to put this in context insofar as the way I understand the President, he has spoken firmly, or if I may say strongly, in favor of the modernization program. That’s how I understand it, the expression of a date is an expression of urgency insofar as having to push this as firmly as we can,” Delgra said before the House committee on transportation hearing.
Transportation officials and transport groups, including Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), which recently initiated a two-day strike that forced Malacañang to suspend government work and classes nationwide, were present in the hearing.
Duterte, in a recent speech, gave the owners of old jeepneys “until the end of the month or until the end of the year” and threatened them with arrests if they would still ply their routes using old jeepneys.
“Comply because come January 1, if I see an unregistered jeepney, old ones, I will have it towed in front of you. If you want disarray, I have lots of policemen,” Duterte said.
“Mahirap kayo? P**** i** Magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom, wala akong pakialam. It’s the majority of Filipinos. Huwag ninyong ipasubo ang tao (Don’t ever harm the people),” the President said.
Transport groups are protesting the PUV modernization program, which phases out jeepney units of at least 15 years old. These will be replaced with “eco-friendly” jeepneys.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice asked what was the LTFRB’s timeline for the modernization, especially after Duterte already issued an ultimatum.
“The President said there will be no more jeepneys so that will be your deadline, isn’t it? It’s the policy that by January, no more jeepneys. It’s the President himself who said that on national televsion,” Erice asked.
Delgra explained that the President only said that to express urgency on the government’s modernization program.
But without a clear policy on the implementation date, Erice said this would only cause alarm among jeepney drivers.
“Lalong magkakaron ng alarm sa jeepney drivers kung may ganyang pronouncement, pagkatapos kayo walang sinasabing time frame (This is causing alarm among jeepney drivers if there is this kind of pronouncement, and then your agency is not saying about time frame),” he said.
Earlier in his opening message, Delgra said that it “necessitates for the President to speak very loudly towards modernization.”
Delgra said when he and other transportation officials saw President Duterte on Wednesday night, the President reminded them that they push through with the modernization program.
“In fact even last night when we saw each other, I was reminded, we were there (LTFRB board member Aileen) Lizada, (Land Transportation Office chief Edgar) Galvante, we were reminded again to push through with the program,” he said. /jpv
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