THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it is open to the idea of amending the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01, especially on the penalties imposed on “colorum” public utility vehicles (PUVs).
LTFRB executive director Samuel Jardin said the agency is amenable to adjusting the fines it has been imposing on PUV owners who are found violating the JAO.
In her recent visit here, Senator Grace Poe has said there is a need to suspend the JAO particularly on the penalties for “colorum” PUVs or those operating without a franchise permit or outside their franchise area.
Poe is the chairperson of the Senate’s public services committee.
Poe said the existing fine of P1 million for a “colorum” bus, for instance, is too much for the operators and drivers to pay.
Other penalties for “colorum” PUVs include, public utility truck, P200,000; jeepney, P50,000; van, P200,000; sedan, P120,000; and motorcycle, P6,000.
“Where will the [PUV] drivers get that kind of amount? This is illegal because it is not the law, it’s merely a Joint Administrative Order implemented by the then [Department of Transportation and Communication] which is still being in effect even until today. We need to revise this,” the senator told reporters on the sidelines of the public services committee hearing held at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines here recently.
Jardin said the LTFRB may consider Poe’s proposal, but added they may amend only the penalties for the “colorum” PUVs and not the entire JAO.
“We cannot just revise other portions of JAO like penalizing taxi drivers who engage in overcharging of passengers. We need to review [JAO] so that if there is an application for reduction [of penalties], we can grant,” he said.
Jardin said they may have to “revisit JAO,” issued in 2014 through the approval of Congress which authorized the Department of Transportation to implement it.
To avoid getting penalized, the executive director has urged operators to apply for franchise for their PUVs.
The only problem, he said, is that operators don’t bother to apply for franchise.
On its website, the LTFRB said that applying for a franchise is free and only administrative costs are assessed and regularly receipted.
“Operators must obey the law and apply for franchise,” he added.
Jardin said they have opened so many franchises in many parts of the country to accommodate the passengers’ demand of additional PUVs.
He said the plan of the LTFRB for “colorum” PUVs is to legalize them so the operators can pay the right taxes and that passengers are covered by insurance in the event of road accidents.