Deadline Extension for PUV Consolidation Welcomed by Transport Groups

Members of transport group PISTON, Manibela and No To PUV Phaseout Coalition trooped to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to continue their protest against the December 31 deadline for the submission of application for franchise consolidation. PHOTOS BY RENE H. DILAN
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In a recent development, the Philippine government has extended the deadline for the consolidation of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) to April 30. This decision has been welcomed by two prominent transport groups that have been at the forefront of protests against the PUVMP.

Transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) expressed their satisfaction with the government’s decision in a Facebook post written entirely in Filipino. They attributed this outcome to their collective action and unwavering determination to defend their rights and livelihoods. According to Piston, their strike has paid off, prompting the extension of the deadline by the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regime.

However, Piston made it clear that their fight against the PUVMP is far from over. While they acknowledged the extension, they continue to call on the government to completely scrap the program. They emphasized the importance of persistent action in advocating for a progressive, patriotic, and inclusive public transportation system.

On the other hand, Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela) welcomed the deadline extension and even extended an invitation to those who have already consolidated to join their cause. They recognized that while the extension does not immediately eliminate the PUVMP, it serves as a platform for raising more awareness and amplifying their campaign against the program. Manibela expressed their determination to continue making noise until the PUVMP is completely eradicated.

The decision to extend the deadline for PUV consolidation was made by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. upon the recommendation of Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista. This move allows more time for PUV operators and drivers to comply with the requirements of the PUVMP.

The PUVMP aims to modernize the public transportation system in the Philippines by phasing out old and dilapidated vehicles and replacing them with safer, more environmentally friendly, and efficient PUVs. The program also seeks to improve the overall commuting experience for the public. However, it has faced opposition from various transport groups who argue that the program is detrimental to their livelihoods and favors foreign interests.

The extension of the consolidation deadline provides an opportunity for further dialogue and engagement between the government and the transport groups. It allows for a more comprehensive assessment of the concerns raised by the groups and potential adjustments to the PUVMP to address these issues.

It is important to note that the PUVMP is a significant step towards modernizing the public transportation system in the Philippines. However, it is equally crucial to ensure that the program takes into account the needs and concerns of the transport operators and drivers. Balancing the objectives of the program with the livelihoods of those directly affected is essential for its successful implementation.

As the deadline for PUV consolidation approaches, it remains to be seen how the government and transport groups will navigate this complex issue. The extension provides an opportunity for constructive dialogue and collaboration to find a solution that benefits all stakeholders involved. Ultimately, the goal should be to achieve a modernized and inclusive public transportation system that meets the needs of the Filipino people.

Source: The Manila Times

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