House panel urged to conduct probe on planned jeepney phaseout
Albay Representative Joey Salceda has filed a resolution directing the House committee on transportation to investigate the planned jeepney phaseout as part of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.
Salceda filed the resolution after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular No. 2023-13 directing traditional jeepneys to join franchise consolidation until March 31 and shall be allowed to operate until June 30.
He said the memorandum is not accompanied by a “study or by an impact and contingency analysis for the 96,000 jeepneys which may lose their franchises.”
“Public utility jeepney (PUJ) operators and drivers were the hardest-hit during the implementation of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, with as much as PI02 billion in PUJ revenues being foregone during the lockdowns,” the resolution read.
“The same memorandum circular appears to ignore the potentially adverse consequence of a total traditional jeepney phaseout in 2023, which will displace some 11.5 million daily jeepney commuters who will instead need to take other modes of transport, including our already congested rail systems, the limited transport network vehicle service system, and private cars and motorcycles,” it added.
On March 1, the LTFRB announced that it will again extend the June 30 deadline for jeepney operators to form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.
This was 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.
Mar Valbuena, chairperson of the transport group Manibela, said Wednesday the strike will push through despite the LTFRB decision.
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.
In a separate statement on Thursday, Salceda opposed the planned jeepney phaseout, saying there should be enough subsidies and government assistance for the affected drivers.
“Totally, I oppose it without government providing concrete assistance to help PUJs cooperativize or to provide ample seed funding for their cooperatives. Even the end-2023 extension is not enough,” he said.
He also asked the Department of Transportation and LTFRB to work with local government units (LGUs) to create a scheme where LGUs establish and operate modernized jeepneys.—Richa Noriega/AOL, GMA Integrated News