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5 Bicol provinces lack transport route plan

By Bobby Q. Labalan


LEGAZPI CITY --- All Bicol provinces remain noncompliant to the required submission of their respective Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) except the province of Sorsogon.


This was revealed by the Land Transportation Franchising and regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office V in a recent interview with Mediaworks Communication on the implementation of the Transport Modernization Plan (TMP) in the region.


Only Sorsogon province had so far submitted its LPTRP which is a pre-requisite to the implementation of the TMP, LTFRB Regional Director Joel Defeo said as he urged other local government units to come up with their respective route plans.


The LPTRP shall outline the intra- and inter-municipality routes that will be covered by the TMP and will serve as basis for the its implementation, Defeo explained, adding that it will serve as their guide in identifying which routes shall be covered by the program.


Intra-municipality refers to the routes within the territorial jurisdiction of a certain LGU while inter-municipality routes cover those that involve two or more LGUs, the official further explained.


The modernization program had become a contentious issue between the government and the public transport sector as it would require the phasing out of the traditional jeepneys which had become an icon of Philippine transport system.


The TMP requires jeepney operators and drivers plying on a certain route to consolidate into a single organization to pave the way for the entry of modern jeepneys.


However, Defeo clarified that modernization and consolidation are two different things which might have caused the strong opposition of traditional jeepney operators and rivers.


Modernization refers to the over-all public transport plan which aims to modernize the system and at the same time ease heavy traffic while consolidation is the process by which the present transport operators and drivers must organize themselves so as to come up with a single group that would handle the transport operation of a particular route, the official explained.


The consolidation had been extended by Pres. Marcos until April to be followed by unit acquisition which part of the modernization program that will still continue until all routes shall been fielded with modern jeeps.


Defeo said traditional jeepneys may still ply their routes even after April 2024 as long as the operators and drivers have consolidated as mandated under the TMP, adding that the phase-out of the traditional jeepney would actually be done by phase following the 6-9-12-month pattern, which means that on the first six months, 25 percent of a specific route shall be covered by modern jeep, 50 percent after another nine months and 100 percent after another 12 months for a total of 27 months.


He also explained that the type of modern jeepney that would be allowed to ply a certain route would depend on the distance to be covered. Class 1 is good for 15 kilometers; Class 2 is for 35 kilometers and Class 3 for 36 kilometers up to 100 kilometers with each class having a different seating capacity. Routes with a distance in excess of 100 kilometers shall be plied by mini-buses.


The LPTRP would serve as basis for the number of modern jeepney units that would be allowed to ply a specific route, Defeo added.


He said the main purpose of the modern jeepney is to provide passengers with safe and convenient transport vehicle while consolidation aims to decongest the traffic by decreasing the number of public transport vehicles that are plying existing routes.


Defeo also disclosed that tricycle operations would also be impacted by the modernization program as they would be phased out from the routes of modern jeepneys, stressing the existing policy which bans tricycles from the national highway.


The official advised local government units to include the tricycle transport system in their LPTRP to lessen the impact of the TMP like consolidating them to handle intra-municipality or intra-city routes, or they could be assigned in junction areas along the highway where passengers from modern jeepneys would alight o they could be transported to interior barangays not covered by the modern transport.


He, however admitted that local officials are still dillydallying in crafting their LPTRP for various reasons which somehow hampers the full implementation of the TMP. However, the LTFRB had already conferred with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the issuance of a joint memorandum that would require LGUs to speed up the passage of the LPTRP, he said.

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