Under the program, jeepneys that are 15 years and older will be replaced by electric-powered or Euro 4 compliant vehicles.
WATCH: DOTr says public transportation should not be 'livelihood'
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 20, 2018 - 1:06pm

MANILA, Philippines— A Transportation department official said public transportation should not be seen as a form of livelihood.

Transport Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon made the remark in a Palace press briefing on Wednesday as he defended the government’s move to modernize the public utility vehicles.

The Department of Transportation official said that there are already several competing modes of transportation vying for space on Philippines streets such as UV Express, buses, tricycles and jeepneys, among others. He said this competition “make public transportation inefficient” and contributes to traffic congestion.

De Leon said this competition was caused by the notion that operators think public transportation is a form of livelihood.

"It's not rational to use the streets… They sometimes compete because they think that public transportation is a form of livelihood," De Leon said referring to operators as he cited a photo of tricycle and jeepney competing with each other.

"But I will tell you guys, mali po 'yung pagtingin na livelihood ang isang public transportation (it's wrong to perceive public transportation as a livelihood,)" he added, in mixed English and Filipino.

Public transportation operators should be financially capable

De Leon said that the initial requirement of the government is that the operators should be “financially capable.”

“Ang Number One na requirement diyan, kaya kayo binigyan ng prangkisa ng (The number one requirement to be granted a franchise by the) LTFRB (Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board) is that the operator should be financially capable," the transport official said.

"So mali talaga iyong ating pananaw before na nag-issue ng mga prangkisa.  individual operator, individual franchise, individual unit, individual driver. Anong nangyari sa kalsada? Individual thinking din,” he added.

Opposition to jeepney replacement

Under the public utility modernization program, the government plan to replace jeepneys aged 15 years and older with electric-powered or Euro 4 compliant vehicles.

Due to this, several transport groups earlier staged nationwide strike to protest the government’s plan.

Piston president George San Mateo previously said the group does not oppose the modernization of public utility vehicles, but appealed that the operators and drivers could not afford to purchase new units imposed by the government.

The LTFRB vowed to provide assistance to transport drivers and operators as part of its modernization program.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said the modernization program is not anti-poor because "the program aims to strengthen and guarantee the profitability of the jeepney business."

RELATED: ‘Jeepney modernization program not anti-poor’

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