PISTON-Cebu to LTFRB: Suspend compulsory franchise consolidation, MPUJ purchase
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON)-Cebu wants the compulsory franchise consolidation and the implementation of the mandatory purchase of modern jeepneys (MPUJs) under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) suspended.
On Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, the group filed a petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFBR-7) to seek the suspension of the policies being implemented under the PUVMP.
At the same time, the group, that included some drivers and operators, held a brief picket outside of the LTFRB-7 office in Cebu City to air their grievances against the national government agency.
“That’s their right to air their views. [But] let’s await the guidelines [coming from] the Central Office [on the compulsory franchise consolidation]. Mas maayo pod nga atong madungog ang ilang position for us to execute properly, but not compromising convenience, [the] rights [of the drivers and operators] as well [as that] of our riding public,” LTFRB -7 director Eduardo Montealto said when sought for comment about PISTON-Cebu’s petition and picket.
In their petition, PISTON-Cebu asked LTFRB to restore the five-year validity of the franchises, whether issued to traditional or modern PUVs.
They also said that they do not have the money needed to purchase modern vehicles.
“Dili kaya sa mga operator ang mga bag-ong sakyanan nga nagkantidad og P2.4 milyon pataas. Dili sila makapasa sa mga rekisitong ginatakda sa mga banko. Dili buhian sa mga operator ang pagpanag-iya sa mga jeepney nila, tungod kay dili sila sigurado sa resulta sa programa,” read part of the group’s petition.
“Wala gihapon nakabawi ang kasagarang operator sa epekto sa pandemya, grabeng pagtaas sa presyo sa lana ug presyo sa mga piyesa. Ug daghan pang laing rason,” it added.
At the same time, PISTON-Cebu asked LTFRB to allow the sale and transfer of PUV franchises to its new owners, restore all of the old PUV routes, and provide more fuel subsidies and financial assistance to drivers and operators.
Drivers and operators said that they had been badly suffering from the implementation of the PUVMP and other LTFRB policies.
Last Feb. 8, another batch of 30 MPUJs and 15 tourist transport services (TTS) were allowed by LTFRB-7 to ply different routes in Cebu.
These units were in addition to the 1,169 modern PUV units that now ply different routes in Central Visayas.
For now, MPUJs will have to share the roads with some traditional jeepneys after LTFRB decided to extend the validity of the franchises that were earlier issued to traditional PUJs since only about 60 percent of the operators have managed to shift to the use of modern jeepneys.
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