Senate asks LTFRB:  Defer June 30 jeepney phaseout

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HEEDING the call of the transport sector, the Senate has urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to postpone its planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys in the Philippines by June 30.

Senators unanimously adopted on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, Resolution No. 44, strongly urging the LTFRB to suspend the planned phaseout pending the resolution of valid and urgent concerns raised by affected operators and drivers regarding the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Authored and sponsored by Committee on Public Services chairperson Sen. Grace Poe, the measure refers to the implementation of LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular 2013-13, giving traditional jeeps until June 30, 2023 to ply the roads should their operators fail to join or form a cooperative or corporation.

“The LTFRB should not coerce PUV operators into complying with their guidelines without addressing the sector’s concerns, particularly on the high capital costs of acquiring modern jeepneys,” read the resolution, which cited concerns from transport groups.

“To continue with the phaseout without taking these concerns into consideration would run counter to the directive of the Constitution to promote social justice in all phases of national development,” it added.

A transport alliance, ‘Manibela,’ said they would be forced to call a week-long transport strike from March 6 to March 12, 2023, should the LTFRB insists on implementing the phaseout that is seen to jeopardize the livelihood of thousands of jeepney drivers and their families.

Poe, who led numerous committee hearings on the PUVMP, also raised the lack of a route rationalization plan from the LTFRB, which is a prerequisite to determine the routes for modern jeeps.

Further, bills have been filed in the Senate for a “just transition” for PUV modernization, and that these could address the flaws and concerns about the program, Poe noted.

“We are not against modernization. If anything, we want to make it easier to achieve. There is always a win-win solution,” Poe said in her speech.

“To enforce a deadline is not only insanity, but also inhumane,” she, however, stressed.

All senators were made co-authors of Resolution No. 44.

(Update: The LTFRB announced it would not bow down to calls for the recall and revision of MC 2013-13, but would merely defer its implementation to December 2023).

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