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DOTr says PUV modernization does not seek to erase iconic jeepney

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has clarified that jeepney design is not covered by the Philippine National Standards (PNS), and that the modernization program does not seek to phase out the iconic design of the traditional “king of the road.”

In a statement, the DOTr said that the PNS only covers the dimensional limits, engine requirements, and safety features that modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) must have.

“Wala itong paghihigpit patungkol sa disenyo o itsura ng mga jeepney unit at mas lalong hindi nito nais burahin ang iconic jeepney designs na nakadikit na sa kultura ng mga Pilipino,” it said.

(This has no restrictions regarding the design or the look of jeepney units. Moreso, this does not seek to erase the iconic jeepney designs ingrained in Philippine culture.)

The DOTr said that the PNS only seeks to ensure that PUVs must only comply with the Euro 4 emissions standards, in line with an Administrative Order by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as mandated by the United Nations.

This comes after lawmakers last week said the proposed modernized jeepneys should keep the design of the traditional units, even with the PUV Modernization Program.

The DOTr earlier said it sees no problem with the suggestion, as long as the prototype complies with the required measurements and environmental guidelines.

Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor last week also said that of the 48 public utility jeepney (PUJ) manufacturers, only 13 are Filipino, and it will be up to the jeepney cooperative or corporation which one to tap.

Just last week PUV groups scheduled a transport strike to express their opposition to the program, as operators appealed to give them more time to shift to modern jeepneys beyond the June 30 deadline.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) extended the deadline to December 31, 2023 following the announcement of the transport strike, in deference of a Senate resolution and the request of Bautista.

The transport strike was initially set to last a week, but was cut short after representatives of PISTON and Manibela met with President Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil and Office of the Executive Secretary Undersecretary Roy Cervantes on Tuesday afternoon.

The PUV modernization program started in 2017, aiming to replace jeepneys with vehicles that have at least a Euro 4-compliant engine to lessen pollution, but drivers and operators complained about the costs which can hit over P2 million.

Transport officials have since said that traditional jeepneys can still operate beyond the set deadline, provided that they join transport cooperatives to prevent “on-street competition” among drivers and operators. — BM, GMA Integrated News