STRONGLY opposing the implementation of the jeepney modernization program, various transport groups are set to stage tomorrow a nationwide transport strike aiming to paralyze at least 90 percent of the nation’s transportation flow.
Headed by Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations National President Efren de Luna, leaders of various public transport organizations pushed for at least a three- year period of adjustment and preparation for the start of the PUV Modernization Program.
They are also pressing Congress to approve House Bill 4823 which offers a way of implementing the PUVMP without adversely affecting the finances of over 130,000 jeepney and bus drivers in the country.
Authored by DIWA Partylist Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay, HB 4823 proposes a “middle ground” on the replacement of existing PUV units with vehicles that are more environment friendly.
Aglipay, vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, said HB 4823 also proposes to augment the financial capacity of PUJ drivers and operators to be able to comply with the PUVMP.
A government subsidy of P100,000, a buy-out arrangement option of P400,000 for old units and a five percent interest rate on a ten-year amortization scheme are also among the provisions of HB 4823.
“I hope President Rodrigo Duterte will certify this measure as urgent, considering the fact that transportation industry plays a vital role in nation building,” Aglipay said.
According to de Luna, the drivers and operators were informed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that starting July 1, 2020 all old jeepneys will be phased out and will be replaced by new models.
The drivers and operators are opposed to this because the cost of a new jeepney unit is around P2.6 million which they cannot afford to pay with the measly subsidy to be given by the government.
Aglipay said his bill supports the DoTR Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) in its aim to provide reliable, safe, accessible, comfortable, and environmentally sustainable public land transportation.
Reports also said that even the UV Express will be replaced under the PUVMP.
In line with the existing PUVMP, the DoTr is hereby mandated to create a specific PUJ Modernization program, the bill says.
Aglipay proposed to the DOTR to allow PUJ units in good running condition and with still solid bodies to be required only to have engines upgraded to Euro 4.
He likewise proposed that instead of the imported brands, the DoTR should accept locally-manufactured PUV units which are cheaper and affordable for the operators and drivers.