Sen. Angara opts for PUJ modernization rather than fare hike

By:, Morexette Marie B. Erram February 01,2018 - 11:48 PM

Instead of demanding a fare hike, Sen. Sonny Angara is suggesting for a modernization of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) as means to cushion the impact of oil price increase following the passage of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.

Angara, who is the chair of the Senate Committee of Ways and Means, was in Cebu City yesterday for the public hearing of the Congress’ proposal to amend the Universal Health Care (UHC) law that was held at the Capitol Social Hall.

He said that imposing an additional P6 on top of the P6.50 minimum jeepney fare is difficult to implement since this would affect majority of the commuting public as they prefer jeepneys as their means of transportation.

“Mahirap i-administer yun kasi marami ang sasakay dun (jeepney). Mahirap talaga i-administer yung P6. Kailangan natin suportahan ng gobyerno ang modernization program para sa mga jeepney drivers (That’s hard to administer because a lot prefer to ride jeepneys. It’s really hard to administer the P6 increase. What we need is for the government to support the modernization program for our jeepney drivers),” stated Angara, who was among the 17 senators who voted for the approval of Train Law.

The senator was referring to the program unveiled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) last year wherein jeepneys age 15 years and above will be rendered as obsolete. As replacement, DOTr stated that drivers can avail of commuter-and environment-friendly units.

However, some concerns were raised because each modernized jeepney is priced at P1.6 million.

This prompted DOTr to partner with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines to grant loans to jeepney operators and drivers who want to buy the modernized unit.

Loans under the program carry a six-percent interest and is payable for seven years. The government has also set aside an initial subsidy of P2.2 billion.

In an earlier interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer, Transportation Undersecretary Tim Orbos said the program, however, was not just about changing the vehicles, but rather a part of a holistic approach to overhaul the jeepney sector.

He noted that the sector’s business model would change since they’d be rationalizing the routes, eliminating the issue of oversupply or undersupply of jeeps in a particular route that affects a driver’s income. Jeepney ads should also provide drivers additional income.

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TAGS: fare, hike, modernization, opts, PUJ, rather, Sen. Angara, than

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