Poe sees jeepney modernization hearing as avenue to find solutions
Senator Grace Poe remained optimistic that the slated Senate hearing on the “ambitious” public utility vehicles (PUV) modernization program on Monday, 10:00 a.m., would be an avenue to find solutions for the concerns of jeepney drivers, operators and the riding public.
“Parang hindi naman yata natin pwedeng gawing masyadong ambisyoso muna itong plano na kaagad agad e yung mga plaka nga hindi masupply on time ng LTO (Land Transportation Office) paano pa kaya itong mga jeep na wala pa ngang nagagawa. So yun ang mga question natin bukas,” Poe, who chairs the Senate public services panel, said in an interview over dzBB on Sunday.
(We may not be too ambitious with our plans when we the LTO can’t even supply the license plates on time, how much more these jeepneys when there are still none made? So that’s question for tomorrow.)
Despite acknowledging the need to modernize jeepneys, the senator said the government should also take into consideration the commuters and drivers relying on them.
“Parang 1 in 5 of our passengers ay jeep ang sinasakyan. About 20 million passengers a day, so ‘di ba, kung yung MRT nga 500,000 nasisira, kung itong 20 million maantala at mawawala itong mga jeep na ito, talagang mahihirapan,” she said.
(Around 1 in 5 passengers ride jeepneys. About 20 million passengers a day, so if the MRT which carries 500,000 breaks down, how much more the 20 million when the jeepneys are gone, it will be really difficult.)
“Pero aminin na natin, ang mga jeep natin luma na talaga, hindi ganoon kaligtas. Hindi convenient, kapag ikaw ay may kapansanan napakahirap, kapag ikaw ay matanda napakahirap,” she added.
(Let’s admit it, the jeepneys are really old, they’re not that safe. They’re not convenient, if you have a disability or are old, it’s difficult to ride.)
According to Poe, the capacity of the government to give subsidy to jeepney drivers, their livelihood, and the viability of the program, are just some of the issues which should be tackled on Monday’s inquiry.
“… Kasi kahit naman sabihin nila ay gusto natin by next year, hindi nila kaya. Iyan naman ‘yung totoo, hindi nila kayang gawin iyan kasi ang dami-daming kailangang palitan na mga jeep,” she said.
(Because even if they say they want it by next year, they can’t do it. That’s the truth, they can’t do it because there are so many jeepneys that need to be changed.)
Last Dec. 3, the No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition led by Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) called off their two-day nationwide jeepney strike scheduled on Dec. 4 to 5, to give way Poe’s request to discuss their concerns.
Following the request of the transport group, Poe said she invited Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to attend the hearing.
She also warned both camps that the hearing should remain peaceful and based on facts.
“… Pero ang hindi ko talaga papayagan sa hearing ay ‘yung gagamitin nila ‘yung hearing para magsigawan at magbangayan doon kasi walang mangyayari,” Poe said.
(But I won’t allow the hearing to be venue for yelling and fighting because nothing would come out of it.)
“Maging maayos ang ating pag-uusap, alam kong nagngingitngit ang lahat pero hindi pwedeng gamitin ang hearing sa publicity, ang hearing ay dapat para magkaroon ng solusyon,” she added.
(Let’s have a proper discussion, I know everyone is indignant but we can’t use the hearing as publicity, the hearing is there to create a solution.) /je
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