Marcos: PUV consolidation deadline won’t be extended

Marcos: PUV consolidation deadline won’t be extended

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

A YEAR-END deadline for the consolidation of Philippine public utility vehicle (PUV) operators won’t be extended, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Tuesday.

In an X post, the President said he met with Transport officials, who agreed the modernization program should proceed as planned.

“We cannot let the minority cause further delays, affecting the majority of our operators, banks, financial institutions and the public at large,” he said. “Adhering to the current timeline ensures that everyone can reap the benefits of the full operationalization of our modernized public transport system.”

About 70% of PUV operators have committed to consolidate under the program, Mr. Marcos said.

Under the plan, vehicle operators must surrender their individual franchises, consolidating them under a cooperative serving a specific route, which the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board calls “one route, one franchise, one operator.”

In a separate statement, the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) said 60,000 jeepney drivers and 25,000 operators would be affected by the vehicle modernization program. More Filipinos would lose their jobs, it added.

The group said local governments are not ready for franchise consolidation in the absence of public transport route plans.

“The government does not have a basis for pushing through with this deadline,” it said in Filipino. “It is just making it harder for our countrymen.”

PISTON on Monday said it would go on a two-day strike starting Thursday to protest of the impending jeepney phaseout.

Transport groups have urged authorities to drop the move, which would phase out traditional jeepneys in favor of new-generation transport vehicles by Dec. 31.

“This scheme leads to a monopoly and corporate capture of public transport in the Philippines, as only large, financially viable cooperatives or corporations can comply with the costly modernization standards,” PISTON said on Monday.

Senator Mary Grace N. Poe-Llamanzares, who heads the Senate committee on public services, said the government should review the vehicle modernization program since it lacks safety nets for drivers affected by the move.

“You cannot blame the jeepney drivers who are scared to join a cooperative since it would need a lot of funds and there is currently no training from the Department of Transportation to manage these funds and PUV units,” she said in a statement in Filipino.