Solons: Use consolidation extension to review PUVMP

By Wilnard Bacelonia

January 25, 2024, 3:53 pm

MANILA – Senators called on the government to use the three-month postponement by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of the deadline for the consolidation of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) in studying the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) and more consultations with the transport sector.

Senator Grace Poe, in a statement on Thursday, cited the extension as a far-reaching initiative for the commuting public and PUV drivers.

"The three-month extension can be best utilized by conducting a thorough review of the program to see its gains and better understand the defiance of some groups to it," Poe said.

The high cost of the new vehicles, she said, should also be looked into amid reports of idle units and missed amortization payments by some consolidated groups.

Poe suggested that transport officials should be open to low-cost alternatives, such as the rehabilitation of jeepneys that are roadworthy to make them environmentally compliant.

Senator Imee Marcos called the extension a "good step in the right direction" so there would be more time to come up with a better solution in allowing jeepney drivers and owners to continue with their livelihood.

"Instead of the proposed phase-out, we need a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes the needs of all Filipinos," Senator Marcos said, mentioning Poe's suggestion to modernize existing jeepneys by retrofitting them with cleaner engines, promoting cleaner fuels, and improving safety standards.

She also pointed out that roads, bridges, and mass transit systems should be expanded and improved to address congestion and create a well-connected network.

Senator Marcos also wants to look into the option of using electric and hybrid vehicles, carpooling and cycling, using renewable fuels, and exploring micro-mobility options. 

Welcoming the President’s move, Senator JV Ejercito said he believes that the three-month extension gives more time for those who want to partner with the government in solving the concerns in the transportation sector.

"I am in full support of improving and modernizing (the) public transport system in the country. The extended deadline aligns with the government’s goal of facilitating a smoother transition for the sector and further ensures that the process is conducive to both operators and drivers," Ejercito said.

The consolidation deadline for public utility vehicles, scheduled on Jan. 31, was extended by the President until April 30. (PNA)