Not consolidated? TPUJ operators blame LTFRB

Not consolidated? TPUJ operators blame LTFRB
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AS THE April 30 consolidation deadline looms, the Cebu-based traditional public utility jeepney (TPUJ) operators group has slammed the slow consolidation process under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, saying operators should not be blamed for not making the deadline.

On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston)-Cebu president Greg Perez told SunStar Cebu that he has some members who have applied for the mandatory franchise consolidation since 2019 who have remained in the “application process” under the system of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Central Visayas (LTFRB 7).

Perez said these operators are in limbo, unable to tell what went wrong with their applications and who to blame for their situation.

So is it the fault of the transport cooperative or the LTFRB, he asked.

On Monday, April 8, LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III called on jeepney operators and drivers to work on their consolidation into cooperatives before the April 30 deadline set by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. passes, saying there will be no more extension of the deadline.

“Nanulod sila og kooperatiba (sa) 2019 pa, pero ang problema kay naa lang gihapon sila nakasulod sa kooperatiba, pero wala pa sila ma-consolidate tungod nagtipun-og lang ang ilahang papel diha sa mga opisina sa cooperative,” Perez said.

(They joined cooperatives in 2019 yet, but the problem is they are still in the cooperative, but they have not yet consolidated because the papers are just piling up in the office of the cooperatives.)

He added that the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives (FCTC) reported that it had consolidated 4,000 operators; however, upon their verification, they found the number to be only around 1,000.

There were times the cooperatives asked for membership fees from the operators for them to be acknowledged as members and to be part of the consolidation, Perez said.

“Problema kita sa pag-abot sa petsa (April) 30 sa atong mga operators nga dugay nang nisulod sa kooperatiba. Kinsay may pakisad-on ani? Ang operator pa ba gihapon sa panahon nga manakop na ang LTO (Land Transportation Office)? Ang LTFRB, ang operator ra gihapon nga wala nag-consolidate,” Perez said.

(Our operators who have long joined cooperatives will have a problem when April 30 comes. Who will be considered at fault here? Will it still be the operator when the LTO begins making apprehensions? For the LTFRB, it will still be the operator, for not consolidating.)

“Ang mga kooperatiba ug ang LTFRB man ang nalangay, ang nadugay. Mao unta toh gusto namo (ihangyo) nga ipagawas ang kamanduan ang LTFRB 7 nga dili panakpon ang mga nag-consolidate pa niadtong 2019 kay among tan-aw, dili sayop sa operator,” he added.

(It’s the cooperatives and the LTFRB that have delayed things. That is why we wanted to request the release by LTFRB of an order not to apprehend those who attempted to consolidate since 2019 yet because the way we see it, it’s not the operators’ fault.)

Once the April 30 deadline lapses, unconsolidated traditional jeepney operators will be designated as illegally operating their vehicles.

Perez said there were times when these operators had to constantly follow up on and visit the offices of the cooperatives and the LTFRB 7, which forced the cooperatives and the LTFRB 7 to expedite the process, and yet many operators have not seen their consolidation, especially those who applied in 2019.

He added that the LTFRB issued too late a memorandum allowing operators to withdraw their application from cooperatives with questionable processing time of application.

Scrap modernization

On the other hand, Perez said Piston-Cebu’s call remains, particularly for the government to scrap the PUV Modernization Program as it will eventually result in a total jeepney phaseout as they would be forced to give up their franchises and vehicles in exchange for buying what he called imported, expensive, non-sustainable and frail vehicles.

The current modernization program must be replaced with a new program that is more responsive and balances the needs of the riding public and the transport sector, including the traditional PUJ operators and drivers.

In a statement on Monday, LTFRB Chairman Guadiz said the agency would revoke the franchises of those who don’t meet the consolidation deadline.

“We will revoke those franchises, and we will only be allowing those who have consolidated to ply the routes of Metro Manila,” Guadiz said in the statement.

The Monday statement did not mention the routes outside Metro Manila and what would happen to operators who failed to meet the consolidation deadline in these parts.

Last January, President Marcos extended the consolidation deadline for public utility vehicles to April 30.

Under the PUV Modernization Program, the approval of the provisional authority for franchise is contingent upon jeepney drivers operating under a cooperative. The drivers would have to give up their individual franchises. A cooperative must have at least 10 members.

It’s the eighth time that the consolidation deadline has been extended since 2017, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said last January when the April 30 deadline was announced.

At that time, only around 67 percent of PUVs, UV Express units, mini-buses and public utility buses in the country had undergone consolidation. The three-month extension to April aims to raise those figures to 85 percent.


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