Jeepney modernization no legislative basis

PILI, Camarines Sur---Extension of the modernization phase of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) is not backed up by any bill. This was revealed by Assistant Regional Director of Land Transportation Office Vicente Nato during the 30th regular session of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan (SP) held last February 12, in the afternoon.

Nato was invited by the SP through Board Member Alexander James Jaucian in response to the query of jeepney operators who feel the pressure about the July 1, 2020 deadline for modernization.

During the session, Nato said there is no law or even a bill mandating the extension for these jeepneys. Based from the order of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the modernization deadline is July 1.

Nato said the franchise of the jeepneys will be revoked by the government once their operators failed to meet the deadline.

Meanwhile, Jaucian pointed out that the Land Transportation, Franchising, and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Bicol is the responsible agency to address the matter.

Col. Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB Bicol regional director, was invited by the board member but failed to attend the session.

Nato represented LTO’s Regional Director Atty. Noreen Bernadette San Luis-Lutey who was also invited at the session.

Nato did not clarify whether or not a mere executive order would be enough for purposes of extending the modernization period of jeepneys.

It will be recalled that prior to the pronouncement of Nato, local jeepney operators voiced their opposition to the jeepney modernization program, primarily on the ground that the cost of a modern jeepney is too prohibitive.

They also opined that the modernization program is actually intended to benefit sectors with huge capitalization and will work against struggling jeepney operators who could not afford the cost.