AT the resumption of the House Committee on Transportation’s motu proprio inquiry into the implementation status of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), chair Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City) expressed dismay that Congress has to step in to resolve the issues surrounding the program.
“Kasi ang nangyayari kami na ang bastonero para gawin ninyo ‘yung dapat ninyong gawin nang tama. And to tell you frankly, I’m sick and tired of that,” he fumed.
In the hearing attended by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Acop lambasted the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for its lack of a definitive strategy in the PUVMP, citing the current 10% progress of its gradual route optimization strategy.
He told authorities to prioritize route rationalization, “para malaman ninyo ilang sasakyan ang tatakbo doon para kumita (ang mga transport cooperatives).”
Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez argued that franchise consolidation should be voluntary, emphasizing that the livelihood of jeepney drivers are at stake, “Kabuhayan po nila ‘to e. As a matter of fact ‘yung prangkisa nila inalagaan po nila for so many years. Kukunin po natin ang kanilang jeep, kukunin natin ang kanilang seguridad, kukunin po natin ang kanilang kabuhayan.”
He also urged the DOTr to develop proper bidding and procurement procedures, as well as negotiate vehicle price points to reduce opportunities for misuse and corruption.
“Can we possibly ask the leadership of the DOTr to make this a policy na ang mga kooperatiba magkaroon sila ng sariling bidding?” he asked, “Para hindi lamang ‘yong mga opisyal ang nakikipag-usap dun sa mga manufacturing companies kung ‘di mismo ‘yong kanilang na-create na community under the cooperative, will be discussing the bidding process which is in relation to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) na sana idaan natin because public utility po ito.”
Bautista assured lawmakers that conventional jeepneys will not be phased out until an approved Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) is in place.
He confirmed that the deadline for consolidation is April 30, by which the driver’s franchise will be transferred to either a cooperative or a corporation. If they fail to consolidate, their individual franchise will no longer be renewed.
“Our program’s number one objective is to see to it that we provide a very good service to our passengers. Nakikita po namin with consolidation, there will be improvement in the service. Ang tinitingnan po natin dito ay: ano ba yung makakabuti sa ating mga mananakay. There are millions and millions of passengers everyday,” Bautista said.