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Suspension of PUVMP sought

THE Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) has urged concerned authorities to suspend the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) until after the pandemic is over.

Engineer Alex Yague, PBOAP executive Director, cited the reasons for their petition in a letter their group has submitted before the Senate Committee on Public Service led by Senator Grace Poe.

Yague said the franchise cancellation/modification,replacement of 15-year buses and industry consolidation, among others, would only mean more losses for the transport industry, citing that almost all provincial buses have not been operating for a year now.

Hindi po natin maikakaila yan dahil wala po talagang biyahe,” said Yague in an interview.

Yague added that provincial bus operators had to apply for loans to pay for the required brand new buses that they were constrained to buy.

Operators have defaulted in paying their loans due to the absence of operations.

We are just not financially capable to continue modernization plus the expenses for public health and all the accessory expenses of freeWIFI, CCTV, GNSS/GPS, and other gadgets that come with modernization,” said Yague.

The group has begged for bus operations to enable them to slowly pay back loans and avert mass unemployment. Per bank policy, a bus operator who has requested for a restructure of his loans will not be eligible to draw another loan for modernization in the next the years.

This is our predicament regarding modernization, said Yague.

The group has also requested for other recovery measures such as the waiver of vehicle registration fees, insurance premiums and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board supervision fees for 2021; resumption of provincial bus franchise to pre-COVID operating conditions, that is, the use of existing terminals, within Metro Manila, as long as minimum protocol health protocols are strictly implemented; discount on toll fees during GCQ/MGCQ, subsidy on diesel prices during GCQ/MGCQ, loans payment moratorium on principal penaltie and , strict campaign against colorum operations, colorum do not follow health protocols, among others.

The survival of the industry and mass employment are at stake, and with them the economy of the entire nation, said Yague.

Sana po bilisan,” he added.