Only 76% of jeepneys, UV Express units consolidated by Dec. 31 deadline

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Only 76% of jeepneys, UV Express units consolidated by Dec. 31 deadline
A jeepney driver conducts regular preventive maintenance at a terminal in Jordan Plains, Sta. Monica in Quezon City on January 3, 2024.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Almost 80% of public utility vehicles (PUV) have successfully filed for consolidation before the December 31, 2023 deadline under the government's modernization program — with officials hailing the campaign as a huge success.

This was the report of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Riza Paches in a press conference this Friday.

"As of this time, we already have 76% or 145,721 [who have consolidated] in terms of the units for UV express and [public utility jeepneys]," said Paches today in a mix of English and Filipino.

"For UV Express, our consolidatation rate is at 82%, and for the PUJ, that’s 73.96%."



The government earlier set the deadline for consolidation into cooperatives and corporations last December 31.

Because of this, unconsolidated traditional jeepneys and UV Express units would only be allowed to operate in routes with less than 60% consolidation until January 31.

"In terms of the [National Capital Region]... it registered the most number of groups who tried catch up with the consolidation process," added Paches.

"When we started in early December or late November, the data that you saw was 36%... As of today, NCR is already at the level of 51% for PUJ and 59% for UV Express."

However, 97% of 21,685 PUJs have reportedly consolidated in Metro Manila based on the number of confirmed and registered jeepney units.

The LTFRB earlier projected around 18,026 to catch up with consolidation. However, those that consolidated and applied by December 31 went up to 25,629. According to the government, this is 142% from what they projected.

PISTON welcomes proposals to extend deadline

The consolidation process forms part of the government's PUV modernization program. Afterwards, operators will be given a set amount of time to transition into eco-friendly modern minibuses or e-jeeps — signalling the eventual phaseout of traditional jeeps.

Some lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel have already began to call for an indefinite suspension of the PUV consolidation until issues within the program are solved.

"PISTON welcomes the recommendation of some lawmakers to extend the deadline for franchise consolidation," the progressive transport group said Friday.

"However, the government needs to understand that with sufficient funds and a well-structured and inclusive program for a just transition in public transport modernization, insisting on franchise consolidation and deadlines are meaningless."

"Franchise consolidation directly transfers public transport into the hands of big business owners and corporations. It contradicts the nature of public transport as a public service that should not be corporatized or privatized."

Groups currently fear for the potential unemployment of thousands of drivers and operators come February 1 due to the latest pronouncements of LTFRB.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in December said that his government will no longer extend the consolidation deadline, saying that they will not let the "minority" who haven't complied to cause more delays.

PISTON urges authorities to first craft a pro-people and worker-led just transition program before talking about deadlines.

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