June 20, 2024

For the nth time, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board-Cordillera is asking public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers to comply with the requirements of transport modernization, noting the dismal number of applications for industry consolidation the agency has received.
LTFRB-Cordillera OIC Director Lalaine Sobremonte has asked individual franchise holders anew to file their application for consolidation – a basic requirement to comply with the PUV Modernization Plan (PUVMP) – before the extended deadline ends on March 31.
Since 2017, the deadline for industry consolidation has been moved several times. When the Covid-19 pandemic was declared March last year, the government moved the deadline to June 21 then to Dec. 31, 2020.
Sobremonte said the LTFRB has so far received 29 applications for consolidation as of Jan. 15, which is dismal compared with the number of PUVs operating in the Cordillera.
The 29 applications for consolidation cover 67 PUJ routes with 800 units, 14 UV express routes, and one minibus.
“Konti pa lang ito, compared with the number of PUVs in the Cordillera (of which) more than 5,000 units are jeepneys,” Sobremonte said, reiterating the agency’s call for operators and drivers should not wait for the last minute to file their applications.
Consolidation of PUV operators and drivers by forming a cooperative or corporation is one of the basic requirements of the PUVMP, in which the individual franchise holders will be merged and granted one franchise that the group can use to apply to serve more than one route.
In the region, only the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative (CBSTC) has been granted a provisional authority to serve the Aurora Hill, Trancoville, and Dominican Hill routes.
CBSTC Chair Jude Wal, Sr. has encouraged individual franchise holders to comply with the consolidation requirements, saying the coop, together with Department of Transportation-LTFRB, is willing to assist them in the process.
“The DOTR and even the local government units have been reaching out and facilitated the process for the transport sector,” Wal said, during a conference in which his group shared its experience as the first association to consolidate and is now operating the 18 modern jeeps that are now plying the Aurora Hill-Trancoville route.
Wal dismissed the fears of operators on how to pay for the modern jeeps, saying it will be the cooperative that will acquire and pay the units for them.
The units, pursuant to the Philippine National Standards for PUVs, have Euro 4 engines, are equipped with a CCTV camera, GPS, and a device for automated payment, among other features; and cost between P2.1 million to P2.4M each.
Wal said the device that will allow cashless transaction is yet to be activated for the modern jeeps plying the Aurora Hill-Trancoville.
“It will be the coop, not the individual operators that will pay for the units. The operators will just wait for their share from the collections remitted to the coop,” Wal said.
At the rate the modern jeeps are currently operating, which is 70 percent of their seating capacity, Wal said an operator can receive P500 and a driver gets P700 daily.
“If the operator is also the driver, he can get P1,200 daily,” he added.
Wal said the CBSTC, as a cooperative, is not yet earning profits from the operations of the modern jeeps since current collections, which is P11 for the first kilometers, are just enough to cover the operator/driver’s share and fuel and maintenance costs.
The CBSTC was also granted a franchise to operate in Tabuk City, Kalinga; Tuguegarao City; Mountain Province; and La Trinidad and Bokod, Benguet. – Jane B. Cadalig