February 24, 2024

A party-list lawmaker is pushing for the allocation of about P1.8 billion for the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program for 2024.

AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee said the PUV modernization program received zero funding for next year.

“We need to understand that the modernization program is holistic and comprehensive. It does not end in just consolidating or buying new public utility vehicles or units,” Lee said.

Lee said a jeepney driver or operator who earns about P500 to P750 a day cannot afford to buy a modern jeepney worth more than P2 million.

“We must keep in mind that the transport sector is not only a public service but most importantly, a source of livelihood. A lot of Filipinos depend on this for their livelihood as they support their families and finance their children’s education until they graduate,” Lee said.

Aside from the budgetary allocation for next year, Lee also called on the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and other government financial institutions to simplify and streamline the loan requirements for transport cooperatives and corporations to purchase modern jeepneys.

“Let us liberalize and simplify these requirements. Kaya po tayo nagsusulong ng ganitong mga programa, kaya natin pinapataas at pinapalaki ang budget, ay para makatulong,” Lee said.

He asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to work hand-in-hand with his office to compel the Land Bank, DBP, and other government financial institutions to expedite the process of providing loans for modern jeepneys.

During the budget deliberations of the House appropriations committee, Transportation Sec. Jaime Bautista said the Department of Transportation will continue its modernization program for PUVs despite zero funding for next year. – PNA