Zarate: Requiring drivers, operators to get Congress franchise is anti-poor
An opposition lawmaker on Saturday labeled as “anti-poor” a House bill requiring transport operators to secure a franchise from Congress, as well as to secure a minimum capitalization.
Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Zarate said House Bill No. 6776 “will kill the livelihood of thousands of small and poor operators and drivers.”
Under the proposed measure filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other House leaders, a minimum capitalization of P10 million for jeepneys, taxis, and similar vehicles, and P30 million for buses would be required.
“We will vehemently oppose this proposed bill because it only largely caters to the interests of big capitalists and corporations that can afford the required huge capitalization,” Zarate said in a statement.
The bill also seeks to merge the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board into a single agency called the Land Transportation Authority, which Zarate said would only “politicize” the franchising process.
“In the guise of rationalization by merging the two (2) transport agencies (LTFRB and LTO), it will actually also politicize the process with the proposal to return to Congress the power to give franchises for public transportation. This not only defeats the very purpose of delegation but in the end, politicize and hamper the delivery of public services,” Zarate said.
The Davao-based solon also feared that the bill is no different from the “anti-poor” jeepney-modernization program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“It would be a big blow to our economy if the government phases out these public utility jeepneys (PUJs) especially in the absence of an efficient mass transport system,” he said.
Zarate suggested that instead of “phasing-out” the jeepneys, the government could instead help drivers and operators to upgrade and modernize their units, and help them organize transport cooperatives.
At the current state of the country’s transport system, Zarate maintained that PUJs are still the “most suited” transportation for commuters.
“It would be a terrible blow to commuters and drivers alike if jeepneys are phased out,” Zarate added. /jpv
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