QUEZON CITY (PIA) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has been continuously finding ways to address transport-related problems as well as the demands of ever-changing advancements and technology through various projects, one of which is the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
This program has been issued in 2017 under Department Order (D.O.) No. 2017-011 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance or the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG).
The DOTr under the leadership of former President Rodrigo Duterte sees the program as a kick-start in making the Philippine public transport aligned with global standards by providing Filipinos with a transport system that is safe, reliable, convenient, and environmentally sustainable.
Apart from DOTr, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Commission (LTFRB) is tasked to implement the said D.O. Encouraging and requiring the consolidation of operators and the establishment of bigger coordinated fleets of PUVs is also part of the tasks of the bureau.
Today, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reiterates the need to modernize PUV adding that the plan is far from being scrapped.
Sec. Bautista mentions that this project will strengthen the CASA (convenient, accessible, safe and secure, and affordable) program in the transport sector. He adds that it will also generate more jobs across the sector – mechanics, dispatchers, administrative staff, and others.
Aside from the advantages for the commuters, Transport Secretary explains that the modernization program will lead to more organized groups with efficient operations. It will also end the boundary system allowing drivers to take home more earnings within a more decent number of working hours.
Moreover, the modernization program will implement a standard to maximize the benefits of modern jeepneys across the country. All jeepney engines should at least be Euro-4 and PNS- (Philippine National Standards) compliant engines or LPG-powered, electronic, and hybrid. Having GPS, an automated fare collection system and a CCTV camera are other features to look for to be considered as a modernized jeepney. Furthermore, at least 15 years old can no longer be registered or operated.
The LTFRB earlier issued Memorandum Circular 2023-013 which gives PUV operators only until June 30, 2023, to join an existing consolidated entity, or else will no longer be allowed to continue their operations.
Sec. Bautista also said that the agency is open to extending the franchise of old traditional jeepneys beyond December 31 to ensure that there will be enough supply of PUVs to serve the public.
Meanwhile, on February 28, the Senate adopted a resolution calling on the LTFRB to postpone the planned phase-out of all traditional jeepneys and should first resolve the valid and urgent concerns raised by affected operators and drivers regarding the financial viability of the program.
As a country trailing through an era of changes, advancements, and technology, modernizing PUVs may solve other societal problems including pollution and public safety, however, the government is also challenged to address the costly transition while considering the affected livelihood of the affected sector. [MVV, PIA-CPSD]