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Gov’t to review 2017 franchising guidelines for PUV Modernization — Bautista

The government will review the 2017 Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, which serves as the framework for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Wednesday.

“Rereviewhin ang Omnibus Franchising Guidelines. Kaya nga sabi ko importante ang dialogue kasi nga mapaguusapan natin ‘yan,” Bautista said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum.

(The Omnibus Franchising Guidelines will be reviewed. That’s why I said that dialogue is important because we can discuss this.)

“Lumabas ito noong 2017 pa (This was released in 2017). Now it’s 2023, so there’s really a need to review it,” the Transportation chief said.

At a press conference, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) national president Modesto “Mody” Floranda said the government has agreed to revise the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, in cooperation with the transport sector. 

Transport groups are protesting against Department Order 2017-011 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance.

Under the PUVMP, which started in 2017, jeepney drivers and operators are required to join or form cooperatives or corporations.

The program also aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels, at least Euro-4, Euro-5, or Euro-6 compliant engines, but drivers and operators complained about the costs which can hit over P2 million.

Transport groups have scheduled a week-long transport strike from March 6 to 12, to express their opposition to the PUV Modernization Program, as operators have 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 to a Senate resolution and the request of Bautista.

The week-long transport strike was cut short, after representatives of PISTON and Manibela met with Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil and Office of the Executive Secretary Undersecretary Roy Cervantes on Tuesday afternoon.

The DOTr and the LTFRB, during the Senate public services hearing, clarified that traditional jeepneys can still operate as long as they consolidate or are part of a cooperative to prevent “on-street competition” among drivers and operators.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said that he wants to ensure that no driver will lose their job over the government's PUV Modernization program. Marcos also thanked transport groups for their decision to end the strike. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News