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LTFRB: No transport crisis amid PUV deadline


Romina Cabrera – The Philippine Star

December 30, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has assured commuters that there will be no transport crisis in any part of the country come the New Year.

“Looking at the whole universe of other modes of transportation, the LTFRB does not see a transport crisis in 2024,” board member Mercy Jane Leynes said at a press briefing yesterday.

The Dec. 31 deadline for public utility vehicle (PUV) consolidation will push through despite protests by transport groups, she said.

Leynes allayed fears that there will be a shortage of PUVs. She said there are enough vehicles, especially in routes with more than 60 percent consolidation rate.

“In major thoroughfares, we have seen that there are consolidated entities already. That is one of the reasons why we are saying that there will be no transport crisis,” she said.

“We see that there are other modes of transport. The PUJ and PUV are only two denominations of road transport. There are many more, even in NCR, which can continue their services to our commuters,” she added. 

Once the Dec. 31 deadline lapses, Leynes said the LTFRB will focus its efforts on other components of the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) aside from industry consolidation.

“The real essence of the PUVMP is commuter welfare, we at the LTFRB and DOTr (Department of Transportation) and attached agencies believe that the commuters deserve better services from the government and stakeholders,” she said.

The LTFRB offices and the Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) will continue their services until Dec. 31, to accommodate more operators who want to consolidate.

“All LTFRB offices will be open on Saturday until (Dec.) 31 which is a Sunday, 5 p.m. to accept applications for consolidation. We are encouraging all remaining operators to join and apply before the deadline,” she said.

The OTC noted that in the month of December alone, there have been 101 applications for consolidation, exceeding the past 11 months of 2023.

Assistance

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave assurance yesterday that it is ready to assist jeepney drivers who will be gravely affected by the implementation of the PUVMP next year.

Jeepney drivers who “may experience a crisis” when the PUVMP is implemented are eligible to avail themselves of the programs and services of the agency, according to DSWD Program Management Bureau director Miramel Laxa.

“It is possible that they can avail of AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation) since they can be categorized as in crisis,” Laxa said.

AICS is one of the programs of the DSWD that serves as a stopgap measure by providing immediate and temporary aid to individuals and families who are undergoing crisis based on the assessment of social workers.

Laxa noted that availing of AICS can help them meet their basic needs through different forms of assistance such as food and cash aid.

She, however, pointed out that while AICS can assist the drivers, “it is just a one-time assistance.”

The official pointed out that it is more vital to provide these drivers with livelihood aid or grants, considering that they may lose their source of income. — Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo, Emmanuel Tupas, Bella Cariaso

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