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Transport group demands PUJ rehab, not phase out

NAGA CITY--- Franchises of traditional passenger jeepneys in the Bicol region are still valid and effective even after the deadline of the government's jeepney phase out has already expired on June 30 this year.

Lawyer Martin Delgra III, Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman, has earlier announced the deadline but he said the transition from the old Filipino-made jeepneys to new Chinese-made modernized jeeps will be extended afterwards.

When interviewed by Bicol Mail, Ramon Rescovilla, Condor-Piston Bicol spokesman confirmed the extension.

He said the extension of the modernization program and the continued operation of traditional jeepney were the results of their petitions to the Senate for reconsiderations in favor small time jeepney operators who do not have the financial capability to buy the modern jeepneys.

Rescovilla said that based from their dialogue with Sen. Grace Poe, the senator told them that the jeepney modernization program should continue, but in consideration, she promised to extend program in favor of small jeepney operators who cannot afford to buy the modern jeepneys.

He said the lowest price of the brand new jeepney models is P200,000 while the highest price is worth P2.6 million.

We prefer the Filipino-made modernized jeepneys, not the Chinese manufactured ones being endorsed by the government, Rescovilla said.

"Small time operators cannot afford these very expensive units and we would like to look for Filipino- made modernized jeepneys" he said.

He said they also suggested the rehabilitation of the public utility jeep because the modernized jeepneys will only serve the rich.

The modernization phase is extended because Congress has yet to finish its investigation on the "fake modernization," Rescovilla added.

"The LTFRB wants us to purchase the new models to regain the government's expenses on modernized jeep imports" he said.

Rescovilla said another factor that paved the way for the extension of the modernization program is the assumption of retired police general, Antonio Gardiola, Jr., as LTFRB Bicol director.

Gardiola, ex-regional director of the Police Regional Office V and former city director of the Naga City Police Office, replaced Engr. Eduardo Montealto as LTFRB Bicol chief recenly.

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