MANILA – Weeks before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office, transport groups and cooperatives expressed their gratitude to the outgoing leader for implementing the modernization program in public vehicles, noting an increase in benefits received by their drivers while lowering operational costs.

In an open letter addressed to Duterte on Thursday, the transport groups touted the improved service experienced by their passengers by having air-conditioned PUVs, disciplined drivers earning over PHP1,000 daily, and benefits such as PhilHealth, SSS and Pag-IBIG.

“We have lowered costs through the implementation of the fleet management system, automated fare collection system, and GPS,” the letter read in Filipino.

They also thanked the Duterte administration for the free ride program under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) Service Contracting Program (SCP).

“We, who first ventured into the modernization and free ride programs, wholeheartedly thank our President and DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade,” the letter read.

A letter signed by 25 transport groups thanking President Rodrigo Duterte for the PUVMP and the free ride program. (Document courtesy of DOTr)

The groups expressed confidence that the next administration would continue the modernization and free ride programs, citing how these programs helped them throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The transportation industry faced many challenges such as rising prices of oil and goods, an increase in vehicular traffic, and lockdowns caused by the pandemic. If it were not for the PUVMP and the free ride program, we may already have shuttered,” the letter read.

The signees include representatives from the Road Transport Service Cooperative (TSC), Novaliches Malinta Jeepney TSC, Metro East and West TSC, A. Doringo TSC, San Juan Rosario TSC, 997 Sandigan TSC, Basicano Transport Service and Multi-purpose Cooperative (TSMPC), Smart Coop, Libra Jeepney Operator Transport Cooperative, E Sakay Inc., Don Transport Service Corp., South Metro Transport Cooperative, NOVABLUM Transport Cooperative, A. Roces TSC Inc., Alabang TSC, Pandacan TSC, Mandaluyong TSC, Sta Lucia (CURODA) TSC, DCM TSC, Kilusang Pagbabago sa Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT), BEEP Group of Companies, PASANG MASDA, Taguig TSC, San Dionisio TSC, and Malabon Jeepney TSC. (PNA)