Government Urged to Lease Modern Public Utility Vehicles to Drivers

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros Urges Government to Purchase Modern Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs)

Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the government to take action in addressing the challenges faced by the jeepney modernization program. In her statement, she emphasized the need for a drastic solution to this pressing issue. Hontiveros proposed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) seek assistance from financial institutions such as Landbank and Development Bank of the Philippines, along with their asset management entities, to support transport cooperatives in acquiring modern PUVs.

Addressing Financial Concerns of Transport Cooperatives

Transport cooperatives, uncertain about their financial capabilities to purchase modern PUVs, have expressed doubts about obtaining loans from banks. Hontiveros highlighted the importance of providing a viable solution to this concern. She suggested that the DOTr utilize its subsidy budgets for 2024 and 2025 to purchase modern PUVs. These vehicles can then be leased to transport cooperatives, who may later choose to enter into a lease-to-own arrangement with the government if the assigned routes prove to be profitable.

Preventing Further Disruption to Mass Transportation

Hontiveros warned against exacerbating the lack of mass transportation in the country by forcing more jeepney drivers off the road. She emphasized the need to find remedies that would address this issue without causing further disruptions. One of the proposed solutions is to authorize local government units to own and operate modern PUV fleets through service contracting agreements with transport cooperatives. This approach would allow the government to initially shoulder the investment risks associated with modern fleets, as it possesses greater knowledge of the program’s future and is less apprehensive about the potential risks involved.

By implementing this approach, the government can ensure a smoother transition to modern PUVs while providing support to transport cooperatives. This would also alleviate the financial burden on individual drivers and cooperatives, enabling them to focus on providing efficient and reliable transportation services to the public.

Contextualizing the Proposal for an International Audience

To provide context for an international audience, it is important to understand the laws and customs surrounding public transportation in the Philippines. Jeepneys, which are iconic and widely used in the country, have been the primary mode of transportation for many Filipinos for decades. However, they are often outdated and contribute to air pollution due to their old engines.

The jeepney modernization program aims to replace these aging vehicles with modern PUVs that are more environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, and equipped with safety features. While this program presents a promising solution, it has faced challenges in terms of financial constraints for transport cooperatives and concerns about the livelihoods of jeepney drivers.

Senator Hontiveros’ proposal seeks to address these challenges by providing financial support to transport cooperatives through the government’s subsidy budgets. By leasing modern PUVs to the cooperatives, they can continue operating while gradually transitioning to more sustainable transportation options. This approach also allows the cooperatives to eventually own the vehicles, providing them with a long-term investment opportunity.

Furthermore, Hontiveros highlights the importance of involving local government units in the modernization efforts. By allowing them to own and operate modern PUV fleets, the government can collaborate with local authorities who have a better understanding of the transportation needs and dynamics within their respective areas. This decentralized approach ensures that the modernization program is tailored to local contexts and effectively addresses the unique challenges faced by different regions.

In conclusion, Senator Hontiveros’ proposal to purchase modern PUVs and lease them to transport cooperatives offers a pragmatic solution to the challenges faced by the jeepney modernization program. By providing financial assistance and involving local government units, this approach ensures a smoother transition to modern PUVs while minimizing disruptions to mass transportation. It also addresses the concerns of transport cooperatives and jeepney drivers, ultimately benefiting the public by providing safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation options.

Source: The Manila Times

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