By Vanne Elaine Terrazola and Marjaleen Ramos
Senator Grace Poe on Monday appealed anew to the government to hear the concerns of jeepney operators and drivers who might be displaced by its modernization program. She said that issues on the program are “far from resolved”.
“The government should address the legitimate concerns to ensure that this undertaking would help improve our transportation system,” Poe said in a statement which came after transport groups proceeded with their strike despite Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB’s) appeal to call it off.
The Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) staged on Monday a protest against the “impossible” conditions of the transport department’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
Jeepney operators are given until June 2020 to replace their dilapidated units with Euro-4 engine vehicles and operate under PUVMP’s fleet management system.
The senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said although the jeepney modernization program looks promising, she said that “transparency” and “due process” for drivers and operators who ask for consideration should not be overlooked. The committee, during the 17th Congress, conducted several inquiries on the matter. Poe lamented how the disputes on the modernization plan remain unaddressed since its launch in June 2017.
“The issues surrounding the jeepney modernization program are far from resolved,” Poe said.
“Umasa tayong mula noong nakaraang taon nang magsimulang pag-usapan ang modernization ay umusad ang pagkakaunawaan ng dalawang panig tungo na rin sa maayos na tahakin ng programa (We hoped that since the modernization was tackled, the government and the stakeholders should have reached an understanding for the smooth implementation of the program),” she added.
Poe said, “The program, no matter how promising it looks, should also not brush aside transparency and due process for drivers and operators who only ask government to consider their plight.”
The senator urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to talk to concerned operators and drivers to clarify their fate under the PUVMP.
“Kailangan ng bukas na komunikasyon at matapat na paglalahad ng mga kaganapan para hindi naman nangangapa sa dilim ang ating mga kababayan, pati na ang mga driver at operator. Lahat tayo ay nagnanais ng kaginhawahan at pag-unlad—nang may karampatang pagsasaalang-alang sa lahat (An open communication and an honest disclosure of the policies are necessary so that our countrymen, including drivers and operators, do not get lost in the dark. We all want comfort and improvement, but there should be consideration to all stakeholders),” Poe said.