Crackdown on colorum PUJs begins February 1

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Crackdown on colorum PUJs begins February 1
A jeepney driver conducts a maintenance check on his jeepney in Paco, Manila on January 12, 2024.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Vigor Mendoza II met yesterday with the agency’s regional directors ahead of the crackdown against colorum public utility jeepneys (PUJs) starting on Feb. 1.

The LTO is also coordinating with the Philippine National Police and local government units to augment the government’s law enforcers as the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) gave unconsolidated PUJs until Jan. 31 to operate, according to Mendoza.

“I expect you to come up with strategic measures and strengthen coordination with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to ensure the success of this campaign,” he told LTO officials.

Mendoza earlier gave assurance that the LTO is expanding impounding areas with the renewed campaign against colorum PUJs.

He maintained that the directive is in line with the LTO’s existing “no registration, no travel” policy.

The LTO chief noted that at present, there are at least 24.7 million unregistered vehicles.

“Over the years, the number of unregistered has increased. This would be the end of their good days; we will conduct relentless operations against them to send a message that the LTO is serious in this campaign,” he said, adding that the campaign includes private vehicles.

He disclosed that a number of mayors have already signified their support for the agency’s “no registration, no travel” policy.

Transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) president Mody Floranda has said that Piston and Manibela are mulling another transport strike to oppose the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

Floranda added that a lot of possibilities could still happen between now and Jan. 31.

For the transport group leader, the threat of crackdown against unconsolidated PUJs would affect not only drivers and operators, but also – most especially – commuters.

Data from the LTFRB showed that a total of 313 routes within the National Capital Region (NCR) do not have any consolidated transport service entity.

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III earlier said that unconsolidated jeepneys would be apprehended by law enforcers as they are considered to be engaging in colorum operations.

The House of Representatives committee on transportation, chaired by Antipolo City 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop, will resume the investigation on the PUVMP tomorrow.

Piston sees huge job losses

Even with the government’s livelihood program, transport group Piston still sees massive job losses when unconsolidated PUVs cease operations by the end of the month.

Floranda said the government’s attempt to provide “livelihood programs” for affected transport workers only shows that it is aware of the huge job losses that the PUV modernization program will cause.

“Thousands of jeepney drivers and operators will still lose their livelihoods if authorities do not remove the deadline,” he said mostly in Filipino.

“Instead of halting the program so that no one will be affected, they’re in a rush to look for funding for the supposed aid and for impounding. It’s as if admitting that they are failing on the program,” he added.

Based on LTFRB data, most of the jeepney and UV Express routes in Metro Manila will be affected by the deadline.

Floranda said there are 395 jeepney routes and 108 UV Express routes in the NCR that have no consolidated units.

Additionally, there are 337 jeepney routes and 68 UV Express routes in Metro Manila that have less than 60 percent consolidation.

Nationwide, there are still 1,767 routes with no consolidated vehicles.

Instead of hastily resorting to inadequate measures, Floranda said the government should just scrap the program altogether and think of better ways to implement a more progressive public transport system.

Piston also urges the Supreme Court and legislators to immediately intervene and prevent a transport crisis. – Mayen Jaymalin

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