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Unconsolidated jeepney drivers to continue plying routes

Some jeepney drivers said they would continue plying their routes despite the crackdown expected to begin on May 16 against jeepneys that did not consolidate into cooperatives under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). 

According to a “24 Oras” report by Bernadette Reyes, drivers of unconsolidated jeepney units will try their luck to evade authorities and still hit the road to earn for their families.

“Kaysa naman tumambay kami, kaysa naman magutom dito,” a jeepney driver said. 

(We will do it instead of making ourselves idle and becoming hungry.)

“‘Pag may nanghuhuli hihinto kami. Pero pag umalis sila, doon kami babyahe para makaipon pang ano, tsaka pang kain din,” another driver said. 

(If someone will flag us down, we will stop. If they are not around, we will ply our routes to earn and to have something to eat.) 

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that jeepney units that did consolidate after the April 30 deadline would already be deemed “colorum.”

The LTFRB warned that unconsolidated jeepney drivers found still plying routes starting May 16 would be penalized with a P10,000 fine, while their units would be fined P50,000 and impounded for 30 days. 

"Pwede na kaming mag-flag down bukas, and pwede na po kaming manghuli at mag-ticket po ng mga driver at sasakyan,” said LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III. “Huwag na po bumiyahe ang mga hindi pa po nag-consolidate." 

(We will flag down starting tomorrow and we can also issue tickets to drivers and PUVs. Don’t operate if you did not consolidate.) 

The agency said that all PUV drivers are required to display on their windshields their documents as proof of consolidation. 

But transport group Manibela said that some unconsolidated jeepney drivers have yet to receive show-cause orders. 

"Kung sakali na sasabihin na bibigyan lang muna at makakabiyahe pa kahit bukas...baka naman i-impound nila, gagawin nilang negosyo,” said Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena. 

(If they said that they would be given a chance and be allowed to operate the day after next…they might be impounded and turned into a business._ 

"Hindi pa tayo dumadaan doon sa sinasabi nating hearing,” he added. “Paano po nila masasabi itong colorum kung pwede naman itong iapela?"

(We have not yet conducted a hearing. So how can they say that a unit is colorum?) 

The LTFRB earlier said that traditional jeepneys are still allowed to operate for up to three years as long as they are still roadworthy. 

Started in 2017, the modernization program aims to replace jeepneys with vehicles that have at least a Euro 4-compliant engine to lessen pollution. It also aims to replace units that are not deemed roadworthy by the Land Transportation Office's standards.—Vince Ferreras/LDF, GMA Integrated News