Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Senator Poe Rues Lack Of Support For Drivers In PUV Modernization

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Senator Poe Rues Lack Of Support For Drivers In PUV Modernization

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Senator Grace Poe called anew for the review of the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP), saying it lacks safety nets for drivers and operators who will bear the brunt of the December 31 consolidation deadline.

“Nakaka-alarma na makitang hindi naaprubahan ang mga sinusulong natin proteksyon para sa mga drivers sa pondo ng PUV Modernization Program,” Poe said.

For 2024, she said the program will get P1.6 billion budget, but which does not include measures to protect the livelihood of some 300,000 drivers.

“Pinangakuan tayo na aaralin muli ang programa bago ang ano pa mang deadline ngayong Disyembre. Ngunit tulad pa rin ng nakalipas na anim na taon, puro pangakong napapako lang ang natatanggap natin dito sa Senado,” said the chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

Poe said that funds have been set aside for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) since 2018 to formulate a route plan for the PUVs.

The route rationalization study is a crucial component of the program since it will determine the number of jeepneys, UV express and buses needed to ply a particular route, which will ensure the viability of their operations, the senator explained.

However, to date, only 9.5% or 155 of the 1,575 local government units have approved route plans.

“Bakit maraming deadline at requirements sa driver samantalang ang mga deadline ng DOTr at LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board) para sa ruta nila ay hindi naman natutupad,” Poe said.

“Ngayon, nangangako na naman sila na may aprubadong ruta para sa kalahati ng bansa sa June 2024. Pero dahil wala ang probisyong ito sa budget, malamang ay aasa na naman tayo sa wala,” she added.

The senator warned that pursuing the December 31 consolidation deadline would affect thousands of drivers who have yet to organize themselves into cooperatives.

“Hindi mo naman masisi ang mga tsuper na takot sumali sa kooperatiba dahil ang laki ng pondong kailangan tapos wala pang training ang DOTR sa pag-manage ng pera at PUV units,” she said.

Of the P2.5 million cost per unit of modern jeepney, the government will subsidize only 8.4% or P210,000.

To subsidize around 300,000 PUV units, Poe said the government will need at least P63 billion, which is not in the 2024 budget.

She said PUV drivers could not be blamed for organizing another transport strike to air their legitimate concerns against the PUVMP.

Poe had filed Senate Bill No. 105 to ensure a “just and humane public utility vehicle modernization program” by providing affordable loans to jeepney drivers and cash subsidies to those who would not be able to comply with the new policies.

The measure is still being tackled at the Senate.

“Nasaan ang gobyerno sa modernisasyon? Ang lakas ng loob ng DOTR mag-deadline, wala naman maitulong,” Poe said.

“Risonable naman ang panawagan natin para sa masusing pag-aaral at reporma ng PUV Modernization bago magpataw ng mga deadlines ang DOTr.. I also call on my colleagues to help us prioritize the enactment of the Just and Humane PUV Modernization Act,” Poe added.

Source: http://www.senate.gov.ph