Albay, S’sogon PUJs resume operation

NAGA CITY---The provincial governments of Albay and Sorsogon have allowed public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to operate, after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) agreed to exclude the model 2010 engine requirement in the grant of special permit to jeepney operators.

Ramon Rescovilla, Condor-Piston Bicol spokesperson, said Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara allowed jeepneys to resume operation within the province after the engine requirement was removed as a pre-requisite of LTFRB in the grant of special permit.

He said that 30 percent of passenger jeepneys in Albay province were rerouted and allowed to operate everyday.

Rescovilla said the LTFRB’s requirement, which required jeepney operators to become members of corporation or cooperatives was also excluded as a condition for the grant of a special permit to operate.

He narrated that during their dialogue with officials of LTFRB, Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Governor Bichara, they appealed for the exclusion or removal of the two capricious requirements, which made it difficult for operators and drivers who did not have the financial capability to comply.

He said the exclusion of the two conditions from LTFRB MC No. 2020-17 was a big victory on their part because 30 percent of jeepneys in Albay are now operating and serving the riding public.

Rescovilla said their victory in Albay also benefitted jeepney operators in Sorsogon province after their similar dialogue with LTFRB, DOTr and Gov. Chiz Escudero.

He called on the transport sector in Camarines Sur to conduct a dialogue with the town mayors, Gov. Migz Villafuerte, and concerned agencies so that jeepneys will also be allowed to operate in the province even without LTFRB special permits.

As of press time, jeepneys operations with routes from Naga to Canaman, Magarao, Tinambac, and Siruma vice-versa remain suspended for lack of LTFRB special permits.

Meanwhile, Engr. Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB Bicol regional director confirmed that the engine requirement is no longer necessary for the grant of special permit.

He said jeepney operators who validated their franchises, passed the emission testing of the LTO, have passenger insurance, and photographs of their modified jeepneys will be granted special permits to operate.

The modified jeepneys have plastic dividers to ensure proper physical distance among passengers, including available hand sanitizer.