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Jeepneys seized despite extended consolidation deadline – transport groups

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - | January 31,2024 - 05:04 PM

Transport groups say drivers were flagged and jeepneys were seized despite extended consolidation deadline.

FILE PHOTO: Public utility vehicle drivers in Bacolod City hold a protest rally against the phaseout of traditional jeepneys along Araneta Street on December 29, 2023. Two transport organizations claimed Wednesday, January 31, 2024, that several drivers were flagged and their traditional jeepneys impounded despite the government-sanctioned extension of the deadline for consolidation under the modernization program. ANDRIAN NEMES III/CONTRIBUTOR

MANILA, Philippines — Several drivers were flagged, and their traditional jeepneys impounded, despite the government-sanctioned extension of the deadline for consolidation under the modernization program, two transport organizations claimed Wednesday.

At the hearing of the House committee on transportation, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas asked the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) about their members’ observations on the ground concerning the implementation of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order extending the consolidation requirement until April 30 this year.

In response, Piston president Mody Floranda said the presidential directive is allegedly not being followed.

According to him, he was with a Piston member when the driver was approached by Land Transportation Office (LTO) officers and asked to present proof that his provisional authority (PA) to operate was extended despite Marcos’ order.

“Sa ngayon pa lang Mr. Chair, ay kahapon ay kasama po ako no’ng isang miyembro namin, sinita siya ng LTO, ng LTO-NCR, at hinahanapan po siya ng extension ng PA, at hinahanapan din siya ng rehistro ng kanyang jeepney. No’ng nag-aanohan na sila, ang sabi natin ay hindi ba kayo na-orient na merong extension ng tatlong buwan ‘yong PA,” Floranda narrated.

(Just yesterday, Mr. Chair, I was with one of our members, the LTO. The LTO-NCR searched him, and they were looking for his PA extension, and they were also looking for his jeepney registration. When they started arguing, we said, were you not informed that there is an extension of three months for that PA?)

“And meron ding extension ‘yon – automatic. Kung kami po ay titingin, tatlong buwan ding extension ‘yong aming mga rehistro sapagkat hindi kami makakapag-rehistro kapag hindi kami binigyan ng LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board). Kaya nagiging tendency ito hindi lamang sa NCR kung hindi sa iba’t-ibang rehiyon,” he added.

(And there is also an extension – that’s automatic. From our point of view, our registrations will also be extended for three months because we will not be able to register if we are not permitted by the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board). So this is becoming a tendency not only in NCR but other regions.)

Brosas expressed dismay over what she heard – the apparent disconnect between the President’s command and what was happening on the streets about that order.

She then directed her query to Mar Valbuena of the Samahang Manibela Mananakay at Nagkaisang Terminal ng Transportasyon (Manibela).

Valbuena replied with a revelation that at least 10 traditional jeepneys of his group members had been impounded as transport officers were allegedly seeking consolidation documents from drivers.

“Sa ngayon po Mr. Chair, hindi po bababa sa sampu ang naka-impound sa amin dahil po hinahanapan sila ng consolidation na papel, wala silang maipakita, ngayon ‘yong mga sasakyan nila ay naka-impound,” he said.

(Right now, Mr. Chair, we have at least 10 impounded because they are looking for consolidation papers; they have nothing to show, and now their cars are impounded.)

“Ang sabi po Mr. Chair, dahil nga po deadline na no’ng December 31, hindi kami nakapag-consolidate, expired na ‘yong [PA] namin, ang sabi po nila colorum na. Eh ‘di po ba, Mr. Chair, hanggang January 31, until today and may extension pang three months. Baka po hindi nabibigyan ng tamang briefing kaya ang ating mga law enforcement agencies?” he asked.

(According to them, Mr. Chair, because the deadline is December 31 and we have not been able to consolidate, our [PA] has expired; they say it is colorum. Isn’t it, Mr. Chair, that the first extended deadline was until January 31, and today, there is an extension for another three months? Maybe our law enforcement agencies are not given the proper briefing?)

Antipolo 2nd District Rep. and House committee on transportation chair Romeo Acop asked the Manibela official who was behind the impounding of the traditional jeepneys. Valbuena pointed to LTO and the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group.

But LTO chief Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza confirmed during the hearing that field officers are currently barred from apprehending drivers who have not consolidated with cooperatives under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) because of Marcos’ extension order.

Mendoza promised to look into the revelations of the transport groups, hoping to find out whether the traditional jeepneys were seized due to non-compliance with the consolidation requirement or expired vehicle registrations.

“I will look into this personally Mr. Chair because as far as briefing our enforcers are concerned, it is clear that with the extension, we should not look for consolidation requirements. If there have been anomalies in these apprehensions, we would sanction the proper enforcers on this if that was the reason for their apprehension,” he said.

The House committee on transportation’s inquiry on the PUVMP was launched upon the instructions of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who feared that corrupt schemes are affecting the government initiative.

Over the past hearings, lawmakers have questioned the alleged preference for imported new jeepneys over locally-made modern units, the need for a consolidation requirement, and LTFRB’s supposed disregard and lack of preparedness on the possible impact of a traditional jeepney phaseout.

Other lawmakers also doubted if the Department of Transportation could fulfill its assurance that there would be no public transport shortage once the consolidation requirement took effect, noting that alternatives were few in provinces.

Transport groups also asked for an extension of the consolidation requirement deadline, which Marcos pushed to April 30.


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TAGS: impounded, jeepneys, Piston, PUV modernization program

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