MANILA - The modernization of public utility vehicles (PUVs) will push through, contrary to what was earlier reported by some news organizations, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Thursday.
Some news outlets (not ABS-CBN) reported on Wednesday that the DOTr was abandoning its program to replace around 170,000 PUVs all over the country with 85,000 modern units that conform to environmental and safety standards.
But, in a statement today, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that this was not true and that the government would push through with the modernization program.
"Modernization should be implemented now," Tugade said in a statement.
Instead of abandoning the modernization program, the DOTr would extend the period for operators to get modern PUVs.
Old PUVs will be allowed to continue operating beyond the original July 2020 deadline if these units are deemed roadworthy by the computerized motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS).
"Kung sakaling pumasa sila sa MVIS, bibigyan ang mga PUV operator ng provisional authority (PA) na epektibo lamang ng isang taon, dahil matapos ang isang taon ay kinakailangan muli nilang sumalang sa computerized MVIS check," the DOTr said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page.
(If the vehicles pass the MVIS test, the PUV operators will be given a provisional authority that is effective for only 1 year, because after 1 year, they need to again go through the computerized MVIS check.)
"Upang mabigyan ng PA ay kailangan ng mga PUV operator na makapagsumite ng petition for consolidation pagsapit ng ika-30 ng Hunyo 2020, pati na rin ang petition na nagsasaad ng kanilang layunin at kagustuhang lumahok sa PUVMP."
(To get a PA, the PUV operators need to submit a petition for consolidation by June 30, 2020, including a petition stating their intention to take part in the PUV modernization program.)
Operators who fail to meet the June 30 deadline will have their franchise routes turned over to cooperatives or corporations that have already modernized their units, the DOTr said.
Franchises of old PUVs will also be canceled once there are already cooperatives or corporations operating modern PUVs on these routes.
Last month, senators grilled Tugade over the slow progress of the PUV modernization program.
During the hearing on the DOTr's proposed 2020 budget, it was revealed that 3 years into the controversial PUV modernization program, the agency was able to deliver only 2 percent of its targetted 85,000 modern PUVs.
Transport groups have been protesting the program saying that while they are not against modernization, they cannot afford the cost of the new units.