MANILA – Several national transport groups on Friday renewed their support for the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).
In a joint statement by the so-called Magnificent 7 transport groups, it said the continued dialogue with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its attached agencies would allow for a “just transition” that would benefit PUV operators, drivers, as well as commuters.
“Walang mangyayaring phase out ng ating mga tradisyunal na jeep. Ito ay ayon na rin sa aming patuloy na pakikipag-usap sa mga opisyal ng ating pamahalaan (There will not be phase out of our traditional jeepneys. This is according to our continued dialogue with the government),” it said.
Pasang Masda national president Roberto “Ka Obet” Martin signed the statement on behalf of the six other transport groups -- the Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization, Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, Stop and Go, Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators ng Pilipinas and Piston, the group that held a three-day transport strike from Nov. 20-22.
The groups called on PUV drivers and operators to comply with the modernization program and take advantage of the shift to newer transportation technology.
“Ito po ay kinakailangan upang ang ating bansa ay makasunod sa mga bagong teknolohiya upang mas maging ligtas at kumportable ang mga komyuter sa ating mga pampublikong transportasyon (We need this to keep up with the latest technology to make public transportation safer and more comfortable to our commuters),” the groups said.
The PUVMP is causing apprehension to some drivers and operators because it is different from what they are used to, the groups said.
“Marami pa tayong mga hamon na kakaharapin sa modernisasyon na ito, ngunit kailangan natin ng pagkakaisa, ang ating sektor at ang pamahalaan upang maging matagumpay ang programa ng modernisasyon (We still have many challenges to face with this PUVMP, but we must be united -- our sector and the government -- to make the program succeed),” they said.
Earlier, DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista clarified that the Dec. 31 deadline is for the consolidation of PUV drivers and operators and not a phase-out of traditional jeepneys.
In response to the transport strike by Piston and Manibela this week, the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) agreed to several concessions such as waiving penalties, extending franchise validity to five years, and removing certain parts of the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines.
However, the DOTr and LTFRB said the consolidation is non-negotiable and will remain, with the deadline still on Dec. 31 this year.
The LTFRB said submitting a letter of intent for consolidation would be enough to allow PUVs to continue operating next year. (PNA)