JEEPNEY units of operators and drivers who will fail to comply with the mandatory consolidation policy under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) modernization program on or before the December 31, 2023 deadline will be considered colorum, a transportation official said Friday, December 15, 2023.
In a television interview, Department of Transportation (DoTr) Undersecretary TJ Batan reiterated the position of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., ruling out a possible extension in the year-end deadline of mandatory consolidation.
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 extension,” said Batan.
“Now what will happen if jeepney operator or driver failed to consolidate by December 31? Their franchise can no longer be extended. Meaning come January 1, they will no longer have a franchise and if they continue operating then, yes they will already be considered as colorum,” he added.
Batan noted, however, that the government, through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), has already simplified the requirements to ease the burden of 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 of 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 December 31 to modernize, come January 1 if possible which is more likely that we will still see traditional jeepneys running in 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 its 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 January 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)