PUV modernization plan: Not just about the vehicle
The government’s PUV Modernization Program is not only about the vehicle alone, according to resource speakers who attended a recent public hearing conducted by the House committee on Metro Manila Development.
Transport Undersecretyary Tim Orbos and Rep. Winston Castelo, committee chairman, are one in saying that the modernization plan encompasses a range of issues.
“It extends up to the way the drivers drive with discipline, the welfare of and social support for the drivers, the way the PUV fleet will be deployed, operated and managed, the way routes will be rationalized based on passenger density and driving conditions, the way vehicles will be locally built to conform to government standards to ensure safety and convenience and a package of incentives and financing that is aimed at making the modern PUV affordable”.
Bimbo Mills, president of the Automotive Body Manufacturers Association of the Philippines says that the PUV Modernization Program being implemented by the DOTr is not only good for the health of Filipinos and the environment but also upgrades the overall refleeting of the transport sector.
“To participate in the PUV Modernization Program of the DOTr (the demand side) and the Eco-PUV Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (the supply side) and avail of whatever incentives will be made available, the modern PUV must either be compliant to the Euro 4 emission system or be powered by an electric motor. So it will be generating less pollution or none at all as required by the Clean Air Act. This will help reduce air pollution and make the air we breathe cleaner”.
The Truck Manufacturers Association that will provide the light commercial vehicle platforms for the PUV Modernization Program explains that the Euro 4 emission system is not just about a change of engine alone. “It is a complete emission system that measures not only the quality of the exhaust fumes but also the performance of the engine, fuel system, air intake and exhaust systems, engine management, performance feedback system, does on-board diagnostics and many more. Even the fuel will be at Euro 4 level. Therefore, a Euro 4 compliant vehicle performance cannot be met by merely replacing a used surplus diesel engine with a Euro 4 diesel engine. It is not as simple as this as some groups have proposed. As such, it will not work as the vehicle will not pass the Euro 4 certification process of various tests”.
“These conversions and reconditioning of diesel engines for jeepneys have all been done in the past but have failed. One by one, the other second hand parts would break down, the operating time is reduced as the downtime increases and soon enough, the jeepney driver is no longer able to earn enough to pay his monthly amortization. Under the PUVPM, with brand new parts and components, a brand new vehicle from bumper to bumper and a body built and assembled in conformance to the standards of the Bureau of Philippine Standards, the PUV driver and operator will enjoy the standard product warranty of the automotive industry. This will reduce his downtime and increase his operating hours thus resulting in reduced operating costs and increase income”.
Edmund Araga, Vice President of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines reveals that EVAP fully supports the use of more environment-friendly solutions for the PUV Modernization Program. “Not only will the powertrain be a brand new and efficient but ecologically friendly as well. This is the shot in the arm the domestic EV industry has been waiting for to jumpstart the sunrise EV industry”.
The Philippine Parts Maker Association is very grateful to the government for prioritizing local production and assembly of the modern PUV. PPMA President Ferdi Raquelsantos explains this will provide employment opportunities and incremental income for the local auto parts makers, most of whom are now operating at below rated plant capacities. “It will also provide business opportunities for the SMEs that comprise the majority of the supplier base of the domestic auto industry, in both downstream and upstream support industries. This will be good for the local economy. This is why the DTI calls its vehicle solution program as the Eco PUV Program. It is not just ecologically but economically- friendly as well”