April 13, 2024

The city council passed two resolutions calling on the concerned government agencies to provide relief and incentives to public utility vehicle operators who are currently facing financial hurdles as they strive to meet the demands of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). 

Under Resolution 52-2024, the city council members urged the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to consider extending the provisional authority for another year for operators who have not yet consolidated their individual franchises.

The city council members stressed the national government should heed the overwhelming pleas of the public to stall the full implementation of the PUVMP, citing mounting financial challenges brought about by the exorbitant cost of modern jeepneys which can go as high as P2.8 million.

The city officials asserted that repaying loans and meeting financial requirements to shift from a traditional jeep to a modern one proved to be a challenge despite subsidies granted by the government.

According to Councilor Benny Bomogao, main author of the resolution, giving the operators a longer grace period will give the government more time to convince them to consolidate their franchises, ensuring a seamless transition to jeepney modernization.

Earlier, the LTFRB had imposed a deadline for operators to consolidate only until Jan. 31 of this year. LTFRB authorities earlier warned this was the last deadline after numerous extensions given earlier.

The consolidation process is the first step in transitioning to modern vehicles. Operators of traditional jeepneys who fail to organize into a cooperative or a corporation are at risk of losing their individual franchises after the deadline.

The PUVMP mandates operators to organize themselves into a cooperative or corporation for the consolidation of their franchises. The cooperative or the corporation becomes a juridical entity with a single franchise operating on a specific route.

In a separate resolution similarly authored by Bomogao (Resolution 50-2024), the city council called for the grant of incentives to operators so that they will be encouraged to actively and willingly participate in the program. 

The resolution urged the DOTr, LTFRB, and the Cooperative Development Authority to provide incentives in the form of tax holidays, fee waivers for vehicle registration and franchise fees, tax waivers on the importation of Euro 4 compliant engines and other vehicle parts, fuel subsidies, and financial and fleet management seminars to transport cooperatives.

Bomogao said relaxing the taxes on the importation of Euro 4 compliant engines and vehicle parts will help bring down the overall cost of modern jeepneys.

Since its inception, the PUVMP has received strong criticisms for various reasons such as being anti-poor, lack of available euro-compliant vehicles, lack of available spare parts, high cost of the unit, and low valuation for existing traditional units which may contribute to the financial challenge for operators when transitioning to modern units.

Copies of the resolutions will be forwarded to the concerned government offices for consideration and appropriate action. – Jordan G. Habbiling