May 24, 2024

The Department of Transportation will soon release the new guidelines for the implementation of the Public Transport Modernization Program.

During the Philippine Commercial Vehicle Show 2024 held in Baguio City recently, Joel Bolano, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Technical Division head, said the DOTR will soon release the implementing rules and regulations of Department Order 2023-022.

The new guidelines include six salient features: enhanced Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) minimum requirements and process; longer re-fleeting period; emphasis on use of clean technology; support facilities, access to fiscal, and non-fiscal support; integration of mandates under Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act, and emphasis on local government units’ role in the transition.

The LPTRP, which should be done by local government units, aims to study appropriate routes for public utility vehicles to guarantee supply-demand balance, road compatibility, and on-ground knowledge.

Bolano said majority of the LGUs have already submitted route plans while the approval, issuance of memorandum circulars, and revisions are ongoing.

In the guidelines, the LGUs should also identify green routes where electric vehicles could go through which requires constant coordination between the DOTR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for smoother implementation.

The new department order maintained the modernization requirements to ensure comfort, accessibility, safety, sustainability, and affordability.

Bolano said they have catered to the complaints of the public especially in the fleet modernization by providing them extensions to change units.

He also reminded the stakeholders that they should always have representation in crafting the route plan.

The guidelines claim to uphold a just transition for transport groups and workers, providing accessible support facilities.

Bolano also presented the 10-component implementation progress of the program which are regulatory reform, initial implementation, industry consolidation, local public transport route plan, route rationalization, financing, fleet modernization, vehicle useful life, stakeholder support, and communications.

Another significant component is the fleet modernization which have three steps: operationalization which is the phased re-fleeting of PUV units to Philippine National Standards and emission compliant modern PUV units, standards development in developing technical standards accredited internationally and made to fit local considerations, and certification to ensure compliance with the prescribed standards by the Department of Trade and Industry and other agencies.

A technical working group is assigned to review the compliance of manufacturers, assemblers, providers of modern public transport.

Bolano said the PNS are not limited to the six aforementioned features, which is why there are no prohibitions to iconic designs of the traditional jeepneys. – Jenfrey Y. Benafin