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Marcos: No extension of Dec. 31 PUV operators' consolidation deadline

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said there will be no extension of the December 31, 2023 deadline for the consolidation of public utility vehicles (PUV) operators.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Marcos said this was decided following his meeting with transport officials.

"Today, we held a meeting with transport officials, and it was decided that the deadline for the consolidation of public utility vehicles (PUV) operators will not be extended," he said.

The President pointed out that 70% of PUV operators "have already committed to and consolidated under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP)."  

"We cannot let the minority cause further delays and affect the majority of the operators, banks, financial institutions, and the public at large," Marcos said. 

The PUV Modernization Program, which started in 2017, aims to replace jeepneys with vehicles that have at least a Euro 4-compliant engine to lessen pollution and replace PUVs that are not roadworthy by Land Transportation Office (LTO) standards.

Each unit, however, would cost over P2 million, an amount that even state-run banks LandBank and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) said is too expensive for PUV drivers and operators.  

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier said PUV drivers and operators who will not meet the December 31 deadline will not immediately lose their franchise to operate but such grace period will be limited.

"Adhering to the current timeline ensures that everyone can reap the benefits of the full operationalization of our modernized public transport system. Hence, the scheduled timeline will not be moved," Marcos said

Marcos made the announcement two days before transport groups led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) hold a two-day transport strike to oppose the modernization program.

The groups are also protesting the December 31 deadline for PUV consolidation, which they said will result in the disenfranchisement of many jeepney operators and drivers. 

In a Balitanghali interview, PISTON president Mody Floranda said that the majority of traditional jeepneys still pass through Metro Manila.

''Meron pa ring 35,000 na mga traditional jeepney ang hindi pumasok sa mga consolidation dito sa NCR at doon din sa iba't ibang mga rehiyon. Almost 40,000 na mga UV Express ang hindi pa rin po pumapasok sa consolidation,'' Floranda said.

[There are still 35,000 traditional jeepneys who have yet to be consolidated here in NCR and other regions. Almost 40,000 of UV Express also have yet to be consolidated.] — KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News