MANILA - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has committed to open all pre-pandemic routes in Metro Manila to public utility vehicles before 2022 ends, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Valenzuela City 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez said this during the House plenary debates on the agency’s 2023 budget of the Department of Transportation.
Martinez is the DOTr's budget sponsor in the House of Representatives.
Many PUV routes were suspended since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19. But as restrictions eased and in-person classes resumed, the LTFRB re-opened more PUV routes in the capital region.
"The timeline and commitment of LTFRB is all pre-pandemic routes would be opened before the end of this year,” Martinez said.
"While we are planning for long-term solutions like building modern public transportation infrastructure, modern mass transport system, we should be doing urgent solution sa pamamagitan ng pagbabalik ng regular na ruta at sapat na byahe rito,” AGRI Party List Rep. Wilbert Lee noted.
Amid delays in the implementation of the PUV modernization program, Martinez assured operators that its timeline will be adjusted.
"The timeline will be extended. Tuloy pa rin silang makaka-biyahe. Walang huhulihin… Modernization will push through. But given the delays, it will not be a burden to our jeepney drivers and other stakeholders to bear the brunt of such. Makakatuloy silang makabiyahe at walang huhulihin,” Martinez said.
"We would really appeal to the sensitivities of LTFRB na sana ‘yung mga prangkisa ma-open nila bago mag-December,” he urged the LTFRB.
NO BUDGET FOR JEEPNEY MODERNIZATION
The DOTr requested for a P778-million budget to fund the subsidies for the PUV modernization program next year, but it was not granted by the Department of Budget and Management under the 2023 National Expenditure Program.
COOP NATCCO Party List Rep. Felimon Espares expressed support for the restoration of this budget.
"Dahil wala tayong support on that, tuloy-tuloy itong hindi modernized jeepneys natin, dahil wala nang support to really make all these vehicle modernized. So mangyayari, equal footing nalang ng old vehicles at modernized. That’s unfair also. ‘Yung old hanggang ngayon nagba-byahe. ‘Yung modernized nag-invest ng malaking capital dito, and then pareho nalang dahil wala nang sustainable program or budget on this,” Espares said.
"Still hoping ang department na maga-grant ang programa para magpatuloy ‘yung modernization program na binabangit... Pero kung hindi mabibigay ang pondo… magkakaroon sila ng equal footing. Hopefully in the next few years, kung magkakaroon ng sapat na pondo, that will be the time na magpapatuloy ang modernization program,” DOTR’s budget sponsor, Nueva Ecija 2nd District Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago replied.
The House of Representatives terminated on Tuesday the plenary debates on the proposed 2023 budget for the DOTr.