Piston Cebu warns against ‘transportation crisis’

Piston Cebu warns against ‘transportation crisis’

A LOCAL transport group has warned that Cebu will suffer from a transportation crisis if the government will not postpone or cancel the mandatory consolidation policy under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.

Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) Cebu president Greg Perez told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, that the policy will have a negative impact on the livelihood of operators and drivers of traditional jeepneys who solely rely on jeepneys for their source of income.

He said operators and drivers will have to bear the burden of additional costs.

On Friday, Department of Transportation Undersecretary TJ Batan announced that jeepney units of operators and drivers who fail to comply with the mandatory consolidation policy on or before the Dec. 31 deadline will be considered colorum.

The franchise consolidation is set to affect 200 active members of Piston Cebu and other jeepney operators and drivers.

Perez said if the government wants to pursue the modernization program, it should find a better way to implement it. He said the transition should be slow so no operator or driver would be left behind.

“Usa sa among panawagan ron nga sa pagkakaron i-cancel (One of our calls is to cancel the policy),” said Perez.

Perez said the public should expect more transport strikes if the deadline is not changed and the government does not heed the operators’ calls.

“Mas grabe na mga strike ang moabot (There will be more severe strikes),” he said.

Piston Cebu held a two-day transport strike that started on Thursday, Dec. 14, as it called on the government to move the deadline.

Batan, in a television interview, reiterated the position of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., ruling out a possible extension of the yearend deadline.

Under the program, jeepney drivers should operate under a cooperative for the approval of their provisional authority (PA) for franchise.

“Our President has already spoken that the welfare of the many stakeholders under the PUV modernization program can no longer be delayed by the concerns of the few. So we will follow the President’s directive on this that there will no longer be an extension,” said Batan.

“Now what will happen if a jeepney operator or driver failed to consolidate by Dec. 31? Their franchise can no longer be extended. Meaning come Jan. 1, they will no longer have a franchise and if they continue operating, then, yes, they will already be considered as colorum,” he added.

Simplified requirements

Batan, however, noted that the government, through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, has already simplified the requirements to ease the burden on PUV operators and drivers taking part in the consolidation and in order for them to catch the deadline.

The requirements include the vehicle’s Official Receipt/Certificate of Registration (OR/CR) and a petition.

Batan said they also cut down the minimum cooperative members to 10 from 15.

He said they also already addressed the concern of drivers and operators about routes, noting that up to three cooperatives can share in plying a single route.

Batan also clarified that traditional jeepneys, so long as they were compliant with the consolidation policy, will still be allowed to run in the streets and continue operating.

He noted that operators and drivers will be given two to three years to upgrade their vehicles.

“Step 2 in PUV modernization is upgrading, which potentially involves buying new units. Our consolidated operator will have two to three years after they consolidate or after two to three years after Dec. 31 to modernize, come Jan. 1 if possible which is more likely that we will still see traditional jeepneys running on our roads, but those traditional jeepneys will be under consolidated operators,” said Batan.

“How would you modernize? The most common way is to purchase the new modern jeepneys that are compliant with the actual standard that have been prescribed… So long as it’s roadworthy (traditional jeepneys) and so long as it is compliant with the national standard for modern jeeps, then maybe possible that is for two to three years, but for purposes of Jan. 1, 2024, traditional jeeps can continue running so long as they are roadworthy,” he added.

The government’s PUV Modernization Program requires operators to replace their jeepneys with vehicles fitted with Euro-4 compliant engines as part of efforts to make an environment-friendly transport system in the country. The unit costs around P1.5 to P2.7 million.

Several transport groups have been conducting a series of transport strikes over the past weeks to protest the upcoming deadline for consolidation. (TPM / SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.