Deadline for PUJ Modernization Program Extension Comes to an End

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Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista announced that April 30 will be the last opportunity for jeepney drivers and operators to consolidate under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). This comes after multiple deadline extensions and discussions with transport groups who missed the previous deadline but are still willing to undergo the consolidation process.

Bautista emphasized that this extension will be the final one, as it marks the eighth time the deadline has been extended. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved the recommendation for a three-month extension, following Bautista’s proposal. The nationwide consolidation rate currently stands at 76 percent, which Bautista believes is sufficient for the program’s implementation, considering the duplication of franchises in certain routes.

The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular 2023-051 on December 14, stating that all provisional authorities granted to individual operators of traditional jeepneys without consolidated transport service entities (TSEs) would be revoked as of January 1. Operators who failed to consolidate their units would not be allowed to register them as PUVs.

To avoid disrupting public transportation, unconsolidated operators were permitted to continue operating until January 31, pending the assignment of alternative routes for those who have yet to consolidate. The apprehension of unconsolidated PUV units, originally scheduled for February 1, will no longer take place, according to LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz 3rd.

The PUVMP aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles equipped with at least a Euro 4-compliant engine to minimize pollution and replace units that are no longer roadworthy, as determined by the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The consolidation of individual PUV franchises into cooperatives or corporations is the initial stage of the modernization program.

While some transport groups have petitioned the Supreme Court to halt the implementation of the PUVMP, two groups opposing the program welcomed the deadline extension. The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) stated in a Facebook post that their protest against the program has yielded positive results. They view the extension as a temporary victory for drivers, operators, and commuters. However, Piston remains committed to advocating for the complete scrapping of the PUVMP, emphasizing the need for progressive, patriotic, and inclusive public transportation.

The Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela) also expressed their support for the deadline extension. They believe it will serve as an opportunity to amplify their campaign against the “sloppy” PUV modernization program until it is completely abolished. Manibela welcomes PUV operators who have already consolidated to join their group.

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito commended the three-month extension, stating that it will provide operators and drivers with a conducive environment for the modernization process. Ejercito praised Marcos for approving the extension, as it allows more time for those who genuinely want to participate in the program.

In conclusion, the April 30 deadline represents the final chance for jeepney drivers and operators to consolidate under the PUV Modernization Program. The extension provides an opportunity for those who missed the previous deadline to undergo the consolidation process. While transport groups continue to voice their opposition and push for the program’s complete scrapping, the government aims to implement the program to replace traditional jeepneys with more environmentally friendly and roadworthy vehicles.

Source: The Manila Times

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