No reason to scrap PUV modernization despite looming transport strike: DOTr

Job Manahan and Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2023 06:24 PM

MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) sees no reason to junk plans for the country's transport modernization program amid calls from various transport groups. 

Jeepney and UV operators have scheduled a strike from March 6 to 12 to express their opposition from the modernization program. 

But speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said not all groups are objecting the PUV modernization program, which is why he does not see the need to scrap it. 

"Iyong pagbasura ng modernization program natin ay hindi naman tama. Kailangan i-modernize natin ang ating public utility vehicles for yung 'CASSA,'" Bautista said in a chance interview. 

PUV modernization would allow the sector to become "convenient, accessible, safe and secure and affordable," he said. 

He is also confident that the transport strike will not push through after his dialogue with transport leaders. Bautista is set to meet Manibela National President Mar Valbuena this afternoon to discuss their concerns on the matter. 

"Kanina nakausap ko iyong isang leader si Mr. Valbuena, we are ready naman to a dialogue," he said. 

"Palagay ko kapag nagkausap kami ng maayos hindi matutuloy ang strike na iyan," he added.

He further clarified that the deadline set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) was just for the consolidation of traditional jeepneys, and not on the use of the vehicles.

"If they are part of a group, we can even help them to borrow money to finance 'yung acquisition ng modern utility vehicles. We have programs with [Development Bank of the Philippines] and Land Bank to extend loans to finance the acquisition of modernized public utility vehicles," he added.


Bautista said government has contingency plans in place in case their talks with transport groups collapse. 

The Philippine Coast Guard, Metro Manila Development Authority, and other agencies are also prepared to provide them public transportation to help commuters. 

"Marami naman ang sumu-support sa atin," he said. 

"Marami na dito sa Metro Manila, marami na modernized jeepneys, marami na ring cooperatives na nag-comply na rin sa requirement natin and they assured naman they will continue operations."

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The LTFRB released a circular ordering the revocation of the Certificate of Public Convenience of the operators of traditional jeepneys if they would not join a cooperative or corporation on or before June 30.

Some transport groups believed this would eventually lead to "jeepney phaseout."