Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri discussed with transport cooperatives in Visayas on Sunday the sector’s modernization efforts, particularly the challenges they were facing in securing loans from government financial institutions.
Zubiri, who chairs the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, was a guest at the inaugural Transport Cooperative Visayas Congress in Cebu City, organized by the National Federation of Transport Cooperatives.
“The transport sector is facing a real paradigm change, in terms of PUV modernization,” he said. “But bureaucracy is making it unnecessarily hard for them to effectively modernize.”
He expressed frustration over bureaucratic red tape faced by transport cooperatives, who are made to process time-consuming documentary requirements in order to modernize.
He referred particularly to the Local Public Transportation Route Plan (LPTRP) requirement of the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The LPTRP is a study plan of PUV routes that takes months to be processed, thereby delaying loan approvals for modernized jeeps. This means transport cooperatives go for extended periods of time without vehicles to operate, and without the assurance of approval either.
“Our transport coops are willing and ready to modernize, so why are we making it hard for them? I am committed to resolving this. We will push to amend the rules ease up on loan requirements from our government financial institutions so they can hasten the release of funds to our applicants from the transport coop sector.
“As the author of the Ease of Doing Business Act, I want to make the modernization process as swift and easy as possible, especially since the three-year consolidation process for the PUV Modernization Program has already technically ended last April.”
As further support for the sector through this transition, Zubiri also mentioned he was filing the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program Act and the Transportation Cooperatives Development Fund Act.
The PUV Modernization Program Act will institutionalize the country’s PUV modernization efforts, and therefore provide the proper governmental support for it, with the Department of Transportation as the lead agency.
The Transportation Cooperatives Development Loan Fund Act, meanwhile, will establish a fund and direct it to serve as financial assistance for the transport sector, particularly in its implementation of PUV modernization.
He also tackled legislative interventions he made to support the transport sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Bayanihan 2.
“I made sure that our transport cooperatives were included in the loan and subsidy programs provided by the DOTr in the wake of the pandemic,” he said, citing that the Department of Transportation received an allocation of Php9.5 billion in the Bayanihan 2, to assist displaced workers and affected businesses.
“These provisions were put in place so we could help our coops pull themselves back up. That’s always my main goal for our cooperatives. It’s all about helping the Filipino help themselves.”