Naga SP urges LTFRB to ease permit on PUJ

NAGA CITY --- The Sanguniang Panlungsod (SP) here has called on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to reconsider its guidelines in the issuance of special permits for public utility jeepneys (PUJ) pursuant to the agency’s Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-017.

A resolution sponsored by Councilor Joselito S.A. del Rosario, chairperson of the Committee on Public Transportation, which was supported by all the members of the city council, urged the LTFRB to ease Items 3 and 4 of the MC to allow PUJ operators and drivers to operate so that they will have their own livelihoods amidst the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The resolution, which was passed recently, has been forwarded to the LTFRB Bicol regional office in Legazpi City.

Meanwhile, jeepney operators and drivers in the city have launched a signature campaign to ask the national government to scrap the required special permit for PUJ under the LTRFB circular.

The LTFRB memorandum is inhumane and unreasonable as it deprives jeepney drivers and operators of their livelihood. The agency should give them and the riding public due consideration, the city councilor said. The LTFRB circular requires jeepney operators to consolidate themselves into a cooperative or corporation before they can be issued special permit to operate in times of general community quarantine (GCQ).

The jeepney operators are having difficulties complying with the LTFRB’s requirement. Even if they exert efforts to abide by the circular, it will take time to process the documents, he said.

The resolution said that if the LTFRB will continue to impose the requirements for the grant of special permit, it will result to loss of productivity on the part of the riding public and livelihood of drivers and operators.

Joel Pillogo, leader of transport group Concerned Drivers and Operators-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Condor-Piston) in Camarines Sur, said the resolution of the Naga City SP will be a big help to the position paper that the group will submit to the LTFRB.

Last week, Ramon Rescovilla, Bicol secretary general of Condor Piston slammed the Department of Transportation and LTFRB for using the Covid-19 crisis to push the government’s jeepney modernization program.

He said over 8,000 jeepney operators and drivers in the Bicol region continue to remain without livelihood as a result of the policy of the Department of Transportation (DoTR) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) not to issue a special permit unless the operators group themselves into a cooperative or a corporation.