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PUV modernization long overdue — NEDA

MANILA, Philippines — Despite apprehensions on the modernization of public utility vehicles (PUV), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said its planned implementation has long been overdue.

The transportation sector earlier protested against the PUV Modernization Program – through a two-day transport strike – citing the steep cost of the new units that would be barely covered by the subsidy provided by the government.

The program entails phasing out 180,000 jeepneys units nationwide that are at least 15 years old and replacing these with environment-friendly units such as jeepneys powered by Euro 4 engines or solar-powered units.

Proposals have also been put forward to install additional features in the units such as automated fare collection systems, WiFi, CCTV, dashboard cameras and GPS navigation system.

Each unit would cost more than P1 million and may be financed by loans from state-owned banks; a subsidy of P80,000 per unit would also be provided to cover equity payment.

“PUV plan is a very good plan, it’s long overdue and it’s not really all that unaffordable given the financing scheme that has been drawn up,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia.

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to complete the modernization of PUVs in the country within two to three years.

The modernization plan also involves implementing changes in the franchising system, updating new routes and providing training for drivers.

Pernia said the government is now closely coordinating with the transport sector about the implementation of the program. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, he said, recently held a dialogue with jeepney organizations to explain the program.

“Secretary Tugade was able to talk with two heads of the major jeepney organizations and apparently they came to an agreement that they will cooperate and they now understand the plan better. They seem to have arrived at some agreement on the PUV modernization program,” he said.

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