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Monday, May 20, 2024

Group to BBM: Rethink jeepney modernization plan

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A transport reform advocacy group on Saturday asked the incoming Marcos administration to reevaluate what it described as “the sudden and unjust implementation” of the jeepney modernization program.

At the same time, The Passenger Forum (TPF) called on the new administration to assess the implementation of the program by conducting consultations with affected sectors.

“One of the things that this crisis has taught us is that mass transport options like jeepneys and buses are essential in our transport system. While we recognize that we have to modernize, we should think of how to implement just transition from our current fleet of traditional jeepneys to the so-called modern ones. The last thing our jeepney drivers and operators need is a program that does not take their livelihood and rights into consideration, TPF convenor Primo Morillo said in a statement.

Just like how the COVID-19 pandemic was used to advance phasing-out of traditional jeepneys, Morillo said, adding that his group was concerned that the current crisis would be used to further implement the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization (PUVM) program.

“The best evidence on the importance of mass transportation is the situation of commuters on our roads today. The PUVM Program under the current Department of Transportation (DOTR) has failed to consider the social costs and it resulted in injustice not just to drivers and operators but to commuters as well,” he said.

Morillo said there were several ways to make the modernization just such as eliminating the cash-out part of operators-drivers, prioritizing the deployment of modern jeeps in new routes to prevent unfair competition with traditional jeeps, priority employment for displaced drivers, and implementing difference in price points in routes where both modern and traditional jeeps serve.

“There are a lot of ways to fairly implement the government’s PUV modernization program. We are pretty sure that many leaders and members of other transport groups also have several ideas how to go about it. The key is ensuring consultation with affected sectors and sincerely listening to their views,” Morillo added.

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