Senator backs PUJ upgrade

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Senator backs PUJ upgrade
A jeepney driver conducts regular preventive maintenance at a terminal in Jordan Plains, Sta. Monica in Quezon City on January 3, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino yesterday backed giving more options for drivers and operators in the public utility vehicle modernization program, such as retaining the iconic look of the Filipino jeepney and upgrading its engine, instead of phasing it out with minibuses.

In their dzRH program yesterday, Tolentino and former transportation undersecretary now Presidential Assistant for Strategic Communications Cesar Chavez talked to Elmer Francisco, a scion of the family-run Francisco Motors based in Las Piñas.

According to Francisco, the new jeepney design retained the traditional colorful look, but is upgraded with more standing room for passengers, closed circuit television and dash cameras, automatic fare collection system, air conditioning units and a front exit near the driver’s seat in addition to the usual back exit, which could extend to a ramp for persons with disabilities.

The jeepney is also electric and has a Euro-4 compliant engine to make it environmentally safe, he added.

“Francisco Motors has been doing this for 77 years, while I have been in this business for 31 years. The Filipino has an expertise in manufacturing jeepneys. Its iconic look is part of our history and culture. Why should we rely on other countries to manufacture it?” Francisco said in Filipino.

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