House transport committee seeks assessment of 1-year PUV modernization

Published August 18, 2018, 10:54 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

A technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Transportation has asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to submit a joint assessment report on the government’s more than one-year-old public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

On a vote of 261 to 18, the Senate and the House of Representatives decide to extend martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2017 in a joint, special session at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday. Inset photo shows Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez presiding over the session that lasted more than seven hours. (Jansen Romero, Alvin Kasiban)
House of the Representatives (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The TWG panel, chaired by ANGKLA partylist Rep. Jesulito Manalo asked the DOTr and LTFRB to submit a report to make an “honest-to-goodness” evaluation on the first-year implementation of the modernization program following the motion made by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation.

“Could you please submit to us a report on your modernization plan; how far you’ve gone when you launched this in June 2017. Please assess the implementation and be candid, kaya pa ba nating i-implement yan at ano naging mga problema?,” Sarmiento said.

The Manalo panel asked the LTFRB and the DOTr to submit the report five days after the agencies’ consultation with concerned stakeholders.

During the TWG meeting, the LTFRB and DOTr failed to give their assessment on the PUVMP.

“They cannot give an assessment. Ano bang nangyari na, marami na ba natapos na route rationalization? They should be candid enough in saying na baka mahirapan kami matapos ang PUV modernization,” Sarmiento said.

In a position paper submitted by LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III to the Manalo panel, he explained that the PUVMP is “not merely a vehicle modernization program but a comprehensive system reform” which sets new guidelines for the issuance of a franchise for road-based public transport services.

“Among its features is the devolution of the function of route planning to the local government units as they are more versed in the terrain and passenger demand and behavior within their respective territorial jurisdictions, ” he noted.

“The PUVMP also encourages industry consolidation or the strategic merging of smaller transport industry players to form into a consortium either by forming cooperatives or corporations to gain more access to better funding and other benefits, ” Delgra said.