Solon Calls For Probe Into PUV Modernization Program
As the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reaffirms its commitment to modernize the country's public utility vehicle transportation system with its new Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara wants the Senate to look into the program after transport groups called for its deferment.
"While the PUV modernization program is integral to the traffic management solution of the country, there is an urgent need to thoroughly assess the impact of the program on the sustainability of jeepney operations that serve the vast majority of Filipino public commuters," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "Jeepneys remain the most affordable and accessible mode of transport in our country--providing livelihood to thousands of micro-operators and drivers."
What is the jeepney modernization program?
On June 19 last Monday, the DOTr launched the program which seeks to upgrade the public transportation system by phasing out old and dilapidated jeepneys that are 15 years old or more and replace them with environment-friendly vehicles equipped with either more fuel-efficient engines with at least a Euro IV-emission classification or powered by alternative fuels or energy like solar-powered vehicles.
Why are public jeepney operators and drivers against the program?
Public utility vehicle drivers though are seeking to defer the program's implementation by arguing that they cannot afford to finance the conversion of their old jeepneys to a new one that fits the program, despite the government's pronouncement that it is setting aside an initial budget of P1 billion for individual loans will be awarded to 650 PUJ operators and drivers in Metro Manila to enable them to purchase a jeepney that's "in compliance with the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program" through the Landbank's Special Environment Friendly and Efficiently Driven program. To help subsidize the cost, part of the revenues that will be collected from the proposed increase in excise taxes on oil will go to the PUV modernization program.
"They should be given enough financial support so they can follow modernization," Angara added. "Drivers and small-time operators are complaining because of the fear that they will lose their livelihood if they prohibit the use of old jeepneys."