LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said on Wednesday, January 10, 2023, that they will “recalibrate” the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) in order to address the concerns of the affected drivers.
Guadiz made the statement after hearing the concerns of several jeepney drivers after complying with the consolidation policy under the PUVMP during a House committee on transportation hearing.
Among those who appeared during the hearing was jeepney driver-operator Philip Borata, who said that they lost ownership of their units after joining a cooperative.
Borata said the cooperative now claims ownership of their units, noting that he, along with three other jeepney driver-operators, was even slapped with carnapping charges.
“Gumastos po kami para sa sasakyan namin, natransfer ang franchise namin sa kanila. Ginastusan namin ang mga garahe in compliance with the requirements of the LTFRB pero wala kaming pangalan sa kanilang corporation,” he said.
(We paid for our vehicles; our franchise was transferred to them. We financed the garages in compliance with the requirements of the LTFRB but we do not have a name in their corporation.)
“Nag-file sila ng carnapping against us. Apat kami na nagkaroon ng kaso ng carnapping, 38 counts of carnapping. Iyong 44 units na na-aapprove sa aming ruta naibigay sa amin na kami ang nagma-manage, kinuha nila yong apat sa lansangan by force, binigyan ng pera ang mga driver,” he added.
(They filed a carnapping case against us. There were four of us who were charged with carnapping, 38 counts of carnapping. The 44 units that were approved on our route were given to us and we are the ones who manage them. They took the four from the street by force; the drivers were given money.)
He said they sought for the help of the LTFRB, which in response told them that they have nothing to do with it and that it was an issue within their cooperative.
Under the PUVMP, jeepney drivers are required to join a cooperative for the approval of their provisional authority (PA), subsequently for the approval of their franchise.
The deadline for consolidation was last December 31, 2023. Some 38,000 PUVs are yet to be consolidated.
PUVs that failed to comply with the consolidation policy can only operate until January 31, 2024 and only in routes with no enough jeepneys or those without cooperatives at all.
“Base po doon sa mga kwento na narinig namin (Based on reports reaching us), there is a necessity ngayon to recalibrate o ire-evaluate iyong proseso ng aming ahensya, together with the Office of Transport Cooperative who is managing these cooperatives. So we will take a second look a hard look po para itong mga ganitong issues po ay hindi na po maulit (to prevent this kind of issue),” Guadiz in response to the call of several congressmen for them to review the PUVMP.
House Committee on Transportation Chairman Romeo Acop said the LTFRB should have at least extended the deadline for consolidation considering the low accomplishment in rationalization of routes for the modernized vehicles.
“If you are given P5.5 billion [budget for the program], ito lang ang ipapakita ninyo? Ten percent ng route rationalization? Seventy percent ng consolidation? Kung hindi niyo pa tinakot ay hindi aabot sa ganitong porsyento na ganito?” Acop said.
(If you are given P5.5 billion [budget for the program], this is all you will show? Ten percent for route rationalization? Seventy percent for consolidation? If you haven't threatened them, it won't reach this percentage?)
Piston president Mody Floranda and No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition convenor Elmer Foro said during the hearing that some of them were forced to apply for consolidation over fear of no longer being able to continue their livelihood.
Guadiz maintained that they continue to work on the program.
Committee Vice Chair Dan Fernandez later called for the passage of a resolution urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reconsider his earlier decision to not allow the extension for consolidation deadline.
The design of the modern jeepneys was also discussed during the hearing.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez earlier said that he received reports that the LTFRB and DOTr are favoring China-made vehicles to replace the traditional Filipino jeepneys as part of the program.
Elmer Franciso of E-Francisco Motors, a maker of Filipino-style jeepneys said their vehicles are far cheaper than the imported ones.
The LTFRB and DOTr earlier refuted claims that they are favoring China-made mini-buses to replace the traditional jeepneys, noting that they cannot dictate what drivers/operators will acquire. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)