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State-run banks: Current prices of new PUVs not viable for drivers

State-run banks Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), the designated fund sources of loans for the proposed Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) modernization program, said prices of new PUVs should be reduced for the program to be viable for drivers.

DBP vice president Rustico Noli Cruz and LBP assistant vice president Genoroso David said this Thursday during the public hearing conducted by the House transportation panel chaired by Antipolo Representative Romeo Acop.

"Based on our initial study when we were involved in the conceptualization of this project, we found that operations of transport entities are to be viable if the cost is within P1.6 million to P1.8 million per unit. But now,  the [modern] jeepney’s cost is P2.3 million to P2.8 million per unit. The viability is now questionable," David said.

DBP's Cruz said that under the payment scheme per unit of a modern PUV, the current monthly amortization will reach P38,000 to P40,000 for seven years.

"That is why it is very crucial that we put up a price ceiling for a PUV unit. Because no matter how much we infuse subsidy, no matter how much low the interest rate we give transport entities, that would be negated if the prices of new PUV units will pick up," David added.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro responded by saying: "Kakayanin ba ng mga drivers na kitain ito in 30 days, walang day off (Would drivers be able to earn it in 30 days, without day off)? That's P1,200 per day."

Cruz said such estimate is anchored on having two drivers for each modern PUV unit.

Castro then said that even with two drivers, such threshold is quite high.

"P1,200... even with two drivers per unit, we need to look at the reality. There are lots of vehicles on the road, and the average income of drivers per day is just at P300 to P500," she said.

"But if it (modern jeepney) just costs P1.6 million, kakayanin ba (Would P1.6 million be manageable for drivers)?" Castro asked.

Cruz responded: "Yes, Ma'am. Pero kung P2.4 million, mas mahihirapan po sila (Yes, that would be viable. But if it is at P2.4 million, they would really have a hard time)."—AOL, GMA Integrated News