Why force consolidation?
Bare Truth

Why force consolidation?

Jun 13, 2024, 2:25 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz


I agree with Francisco Motors Chairman Elmer B. Francisco in questioning the government why it forces consolidation for jeepney operators to reap the benefits of being a part of a cooperative or corporation under the state-designed PUV Modernization Program.

All the while I thought we live in a democracy so why are things being rammed into the throats of legitimate small businesses like public utility jeepneys, whose main purpose is to serve commuters who can’t afford to buy a car or keep using the costlier ride-hailing apps for cars and motorcycle taxis.

Jeepney consolidation under the Philippines’ modernization plan should be optional to ease the burden on operators and drivers, Francisco Motors said.

“Jeepney operators who see the benefits of forming a cooperative or corporation should be allowed to form one. Let them do it,” Francisco told Business World.

“But for those who don’t see the benefits and can modernize without joining a cooperative or corporation, let them do so as well. Why force them?” he asked.

Francisco, whose family has been making jeepneys for more than three decades, noted that the government’s consolidation plan forces jeepney operators to work with each other when they are supposed to be competitors.

“If you try to bring them together, it will only create more chaos, and that is exactly what is happening,” he said.

Francisco said operators and drivers should be able to see the pros and cons of joining a cooperative and decide accordingly.

Last December 29, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued an order requiring jeepney operators to join or build cooperatives to make routes more efficient.

Jeepney drivers say joining a cooperative is expensive and forces them to give up ownership of their own vehicles. Joining a cooperative cost at least P20,000.

Jeepney driver Christian Erik V. Lirag said he joined a cooperative so as not to lose his livelihood.

“I don’t think it’s right because it feels forced. There’s no choice, otherwise we won’t be able to operate. It’s better to make it optional because we can modernize without taking out bank loans or joining a cooperative or corporation,” he said.

He said about 100 jeepney operators in his Balic-Balic-Quiapo route in Manila have joined the consolidation.

The modernization program intends to replace traditional jeepneys with modern ones that use Euro-4 compliant engines to lessen pollution. But Francisco Motors said it could offer fully electric modern jeepneys with modern ones that cost only P1.99 million starting next year versus the over P2 million offered by the PUV Modernization Program, with participants expected to secure a loan where they pay commercial interest rates to be able to purchase a modern unit.

The government would only subsidize a small portion of the modern jeepney.

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo E. Guadiz III on May 15 said about 1,900 public utility vehicles had not joined the program. But transport group PISTON said more than 20,000 units in the capital region alone had not been covered by the consolidation.

Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista claimed that 80 percent of PUVs have consolidated.

PISTON has filed an amended case asking the Supreme Court to stop the state’s modernization program.

The LTFRB and the DoTr warned that unconsolidated jeepneys found plying their routes would be apprehended.

Erring drivers or operators would be slapped with a P10,000 fine and their vehicles impounded for a month. They also face a one-year suspension.

Transport group Manibela is holding another 3-day strike starting June 10 (today). It also alluded to a Congressional bill calling for a one-year moratorium on the crackdown. Just last month, congressmen asked transport officials to suspend the crackdown and give unconsolidated jeepney operators a one-year grace period to modernize their units, the paper said.

My Take

Why zero in on jeepneys to be Euro-4 compliant when even a lot of cars on the road are not even complying with that international standard.

The DoTr and its attached agencies are so biased towards cars– the main cause of road traffic by their sheer number (which carry only a driver or at most 1 to 2 passengers) whereas a jeepney carries from 10 or more commuters.

If the transport officials want public transport to upgrade then they must apply the same requirement to private vehicles.

#WeTakeAStand #OpinYon #OpinYonColumn #ColumnbyRosedelaCruz #BareTruth #LTFRB #PISTON

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