Palace: Only roadworthy jeepneys will be allowed to operate

Published June 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that traditional passenger jeepneys may be allowed to return to the streets of Metro Manila only if they are roadworthy.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced on Wednesday that traditional jeepneys, along with the UV Express, will return next week.

In his Thursday presser, Roque, however, clarified that roadworthy traditional jeepneys can only return if the existing number of modes of transportation available is still not enough to cater to the needs of the riding public.

“Kung kulang po talaga, kinokonsidera na po ang pagbiyahe ng mga traditional jeeps basta sila po ay roadworthy (If it’s still not enough, we are now considering the return of traditional jeepneys as long as they are roadworthy),” he said.

“‘Roadworthy’ means hindi talaga lahat ng jeepney mapapayagan nang bumalik sa kanilang mga pasada (not all jeepneys will be allowed to return),” he added.


Meanwhile, Roque denied that the government was taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to proceed with the jeepney modernization program.

He said the program should have commenced in 2016 but was delayed for four years, adding that it was only a coincidence that COVID-19 struck the Philippines at the same time.

“Ang modernization ay hindi tinaon sa pandemya… May tatlong taon na pong talaga nang pinirmahan ang Omnibus Franchise Guidelines para sa modernization ng mga jeepneys (The modernization was not held to coincide with the pandemic… It has already been three years since the Omnibus Franchise Guidelines for the modernization of jeepneys was signed),” he said.

“Kung maaalala ko po, 2016 pa po ito. Yung taon na yun gusto na ngang ipatupad ang jeepney modernization pero binigyan na po ng apat na taong palugit (If I remember correctly, the jeepney modernization program was supposed to be implemented in 2016 but it was delayed by four years),” he added.

Roque, meanwhile, discouraged jeepney drivers and operators who threatened to burn their jeepneys over the modernization program amid the pandemic.

“Hindi po namin tinatanggal sa mga tsuper ang kalayaang magpahayag. Ngunit maaari tayong magpahayag nang hindi nananakot po (We are not depriving drivers of their right to express their grievances. But they can do that without resorting to threats),” he said.

According to Roque, the issue of the modernization of jeepneys was not about it being pro-rich or pro-poor since the government was giving equity subsidy for drivers and operators of up to P160,000 per unit if they are interested in driving modernized jeepneys.

“Binigyan po ng tatlong taon na transition period na nag-extend hanggang Disyembre ngayong taon (The government has given a three-year transition perion which was extended until December this year),” he said.

“Kapakanan ng commuter ang aming iniisip, hindi ito usapin ng mayaman o mahirap (We’re thinking of the welfare of the commuters. This is not about who’s rich or poor),” he added.