Freeman Cebu Business

PUVMP: Change is hard but necessary

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos - Agence France-Presse

The “walang forever” phrase best describes the fate of the old jeepneys. Such fate, however, did not come like a thief of the night. The fact is, the jeepney operators and drivers are well aware of it since 2017. It started when the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines was released.

The 2017 Omnibus Franchising Guidelines serves as the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) framework. Aimed to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels (at least, Euro-4, Euro-5, or Euro-6 compliant engines), the guideline requires operators to consolidate to make applying for loans easier and more efficient.

True enough, there are those who embrace the modernization program. However, while this modernization is good, it seems that discussions on it are so focused only on the replacement of the units. Thus, as we can observe right now, these modern jeepneys’ drivers’ attitudes remain scarily the same.

Looking intently, this program underscores safety for the riding public above all things.  Just in case these jeepney operators and drivers aren’t aware of it, safety is a condition of being free from danger, injury or risk or on any consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, or any situations which can be considered non-desirable. This can take in the mold of being protected from exposure to something that causes health or economical losses. It can include protection of people or of possessions.

These are categorized into normative safety, substantive safety and perceived safety. Of these three types, “perceived safety”, which refers to the “level of comfort of users”, horribly experiences numerous lapses. These are serious lapses that do not only lead to injuries but untimely deaths. The typical examples are traffic signals, traffic regulatory and directional signs.  Supposedly, having these devices or signs will give us perceptions that the roads or intersections are safe. More often, however, these signals or signs are ignored. Or, in a few instances, traffic signals malfunction. Consequently, accidents happen.

This program, in essence, addresses safety as it prohibits 15-year-old (and beyond as of 2017) jeepneys to ply the streets. These are poorly maintained jeepneys with, probably, malfunctioning brakes and steering wheels that more often result to untimely deaths and traffic jams.

Thus, let’s look into them vis-à-vis our concern on convenience and safety.

On convenience, is the present transport system (use of jeepneys) acceptable? Absolutely, the answer is a big NO. Despite being holders of certificates of public convenience, these jeepney drivers have less regard on such responsibility.

To recall, in opposing the government’s jeepney modernization program, they also went on a two-day strike in 2017, just after the guideline was released. Then, classes were suspended and, worse, government offices were closed.

Sadists that they are, these ruffians rejoiced in all those inconveniences we were in. They rejoiced without realizing that in doing so, they dreadfully pulled the school children several days back to illiteracy and further impoverished the families of ordinary employees and street entrepreneurs who were not able to earn enough on these days. Certainly, such strikes, like many others before and after that, did not only bring us inconceivable discomforts, it also dealt us financial losses brought about by economic inactivity.

On safety, is the current jeepney transport system desirable? The answer is an absolutely NO.  In the drivers’ race for more passengers to get the front seats, safety concerns have been left in the back seat. They don’t recognize designated jeepney stops. They load and unload passengers anywhere on the streets. More often, passengers had to squeeze themselves through a phalanx of vehicles to get to the sidewalk where they could be safer. They run and elude racing vehicles just to get a ride on jeepneys that are halting at the middle of the road. Clearly, they blatantly ignore safety for money.

In all these apparent neglect for safety by the jeepney drivers, taking them (both new and old) out of the streets should have been the best alternative. Rendering that option impossible, well, for the time being, we, the general public should join hands in supporting the government’s jeepney modernization program.

To the jeepney drivers and operators, just be reminded of what George Bernard Shaw (an Irish playwright and critic) aptly wrote. That “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with