MANILA - The government is not yet ready to implement a modernization program for public utility vehicles, which would start in January with the phaseout of about 270,000 old jeepneys, Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday.
Several transport groups have opposed the scheme, saying drivers and operators cannot afford electronic jeepneys that cost some P1.6 million. The government has approved an P80,000 subsidy for each new jeepney unit or a total of P2.26 billion.
The government however still needs to shell out some P415 billion for the full implementation of the modernization scheme, said Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee.
"Ibig sabihin, kahit kami sa gobyerno, hindi pa rin kami handa pagdating dito sa roll out ng ganito kalaking programa," she told DZMM.
(This means that we in the government are not yet ready for the roll out of such a massive program.)
She also expressed doubt that regulators can process documents for the new jeepneys, noting the chronic delays in the release of license plates.
"Kung titingnan natin ang kapabilidad ng gobyerno, 'pag sinabing i-phaseout na iyan, anong pang-palit kung iyung plaka nga hindi n'yo mabigay sa tamang oras," she added
(If we will look at our government's capability, when they say old jeepneys should be phased out, what will replace these when you cannot even issue license plates on time.)
She urged the government to consider launching the modernization schemes in select cities only.
Poe has also invited Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to a legislative hearing where transport groups are set to present alternative programs.