Over 100 SK execs warn Marcos of looming transport crisis with PUV modernization

Over 100 SK execs warn Marcos of looming transport crisis with PUV modernization
Different transport groups held a noise barrage against the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) modernization program during the second state of the nation address of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., on July 24.
The Flame / Ethan Cardaño

MANILA, Philippines — More than 100 Sangguniang Kabataan officials have signed a unity statement opposing the government’s franchise consolidation plan for public utility vehicles (PUV), warning that the franchise consolidation requirement  would lead to a mass transport crisis among millions of commuters.

According to a statement shared by the Kabataan Partylist, the SK officials said they oppose the franchise consolidation deadline set on December 31 as it threatens to strip off the livelihood and income of more than 60,0000 jeepney operators by forcing them to submit to the management of transport cooperatives or corporations.

Kabataan Partylist told reporters in a message on Sunday that 111 officials have signed the statement. 

“The repercussions of drastically reducing the number of PUVs in January 2024 extend beyond economic implications. Aside from creating dents in commuter’s budgets, especially those working or studying, it threatens to plunge millions of Filipino commuters into a dire transport crisis, profoundly impacting crucial sectors of our economy,” the statement read.

The youth leaders also urged Marcos to review the PUV modernization program and “either set aside or completely revoke” the deadline for franchise consolidation to "avert an impending transport crisis."

“Though government information insists on progress in terms of franchise consolidation, ground reports paint a different picture — one that ensures that existing policies will neglect the conditions of the transport industry,” the statement added.

The SK officials also hit the government’s franchise consolidation requirement, saying that this essentially violates the rights of jeepney drivers and operators to form their own associations by “compelling them to dissolve their existing associations to comply or risk losing their means of livelihood.”

A memorandum circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on December 22 allows jeepney drivers and operators who have not yet consolidated to still ply the roads after the December 31 deadline. However, they will no longer be allowed to join cooperatives or corporations. — Cristina Chi with reports by James Relativo

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