Jeepney operators, drivers oppose PUV modernization

An association of jeepney operators and drivers in Angeles City has showed strong opposition on the administration’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program which will be in full implementation by 2020.

Pandan Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association President Alberto Suba, a driver for 29 years and is with two jeepney units, stressed that only the proposed cooperative will benefit from the modernization scheme.

“Noong kinausap nila kami, ang sabi nila bibigyan kami ng P80,000 kapalit nung mga units na hawak namin. Paano na lang yung mga ginastos namin? Kulang na kulang yun. Dagdag pa nila, ang itatayong kooperatiba ang namamahala sa pasweldo at sa mga sasakyan. Biruin mo pagkatapos mong bumyahe, ibibigay mo ang kinita mo sa kanila at hindi uuwi sayo ang sasakyan. Hindi yata kami makakapayag doon,” Suba said on a separate interview during the Modern PUV Caravan event on Thursday, July 4 at SM City Clark front covered walk.

The Modern PUV Caravan program themed “Arangkada ng Pagbabago Tungo sa Kaunlaran,” is a joint initiative of DOTr, LTFRB, Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Landbank of theì Philippines and PUV manufacturers and suppliers which will be held nationwide until January of next year.

In his welcome remark, LTFRB OIC-Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastracture Mark de Leon said through the caravans, PUV operators, drivers and  commuters will be educated on the pros of a modern and reliable public transport service.

“This is the first time that the goverment inititated to release such amount of P80,000 per unit to support our drivers. In fact, DOTr has also partnered with TESDA to give them and their family members trainings on financial management and in operating these modern PUVs,” de Leon said.

He added that DBP and Landbank will offer an affordable financing package which he called ‘5-6-7’ (five percent downpayment, six percent and seven years to pay).

In 2017, DOTr issued the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance) or the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). The program envisions a restructured and improved transporation system where drivers and operators have stable source of income.

The modern jeepneys are designed to be environment-friendly, safe and secured to the public especially persons with disability.  — Photos and text by Larrica Angela Cunanan