On the same day that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that the planned modernization of jeepneys is not "urgent" and amid the planned week-long holiday being planned by transportation groups, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday announced that it will again extend the June 30 deadline for jeepney operators to form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.
“We are coming out with a new memorandum circular extending the deadline to December 31, 2023,” LTFRB Chairman Atty. Teofilo Guadiz III said in a press briefing.
Guadiz issued the remark after transport groups warned of a week-long transport strike that could paralyze the transport system in the National Capital Region from March 6 to March 12, 2023.
Guadiz, however, said the LTFRB was not pressured to move the deadline because of the looming transport strike.
“To be honest there is no pressure for us for this strike because more than 90% of the transport groups have signified their support to the program of the LTFRB,” he said.
“[I]n deference to the Senate resolution of Senator Grace Poe and to the request of the secretary of the Department of Transportation, we will be extending the deadline to allow the transport sector more time to consolidate,” he added.
On Wednesday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also expressed hope that the week-long transport strike would not push through.
Jeepney drivers and operators are required to join or form cooperatives under the PUV modernization program, which aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels.
Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises but as part of transport cooperatives.
Meanwhile, Guadiz said that operators are not giving up their franchises when they enter cooperatives when asked if operators can retain their franchises even if they join a cooperative.
“Pagaaralan ho namin yang suhestiyon niyong ‘yan pero technically po hindi naman po gini-give up ng individual yung kayang franchise in reality,” the LTFRB chairperson said.
(We will study that suggestion, but technically they are not really giving up their individual franchise.)
“Because when they band together as one cooperative, ‘yung mga prangkisang bitbit nila, ‘yun na ho ‘yung dinadala nila doon sa cooperative (Their franchise will be brought over to the cooperative) and the cooperative takes over the management of this franchise… they are a member of that cooperative, so indirectly they still hold those franchises,” he added. —VAL, GMA Integrated News