by Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang clarified that the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) will not phase out all jeepneys, but instead modernize the country’s iconic mode of transportation.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar made the clarification after transport groups claimed that the PUVMP is anti-poor.
Andanar, in an interview over Radyo Pilipinas, also eased the worry of commuters that there will be no more jeepneys on the roads once the Department of Transportation (DOTr) continues with their plan to phase out jeepneys.
“It is not the phaseout of the jeepney per se, the jeepney as a vehicle, as the concept of a commuter vehicle. It is the phaseout of the old models,” he said.
“Mananatili po ‘yung jeepney, ‘yung jeepney na konsepto na sinasakyan po natin. Papalitan lang ho ng mas bago,” added Andanar.
Andanar also said the government would push through with the plan to modernize the jeepneys.
‘Yun po ang sinabi ng ating mahal na Pangulo. ‘Yun po ang polisiya ng gobyerno. ‘Yan po ang polisiya na ibinigay sa ating Pangulo ng Department of Transportation.
“It’s just the model that we are phasing out because we believe, the government believes that the riding public deserves better, more energy-efficient and less pollutant jeepneys plying the streets of Metro Manila,” he added.
Malacañang recently assured Filipino jeepney drivers that this initiative of the government to improve the public transport sector would not put them out of business.
Among these efforts is the provision of a financing scheme for acquisition of new units available through the Development Bank of the Philippines’ Support Alternative Driving Approaches (Pasada) program and Landbank of the Philippines’ Special Environment-Friendly and Efficiently Driven (SPEED) jeepney program.
The Department of Finance (DOF) is offering a five-percent equity, six-percent interest rate, and a repayment period as long as seven years financing package on top of the R80,000 subsidy per unit to cover the equity payment. In addition, there is zero or low maintenance cost of new units in the first three years, which translates to savings.
The PUVMP has sparked nationwide transport strikes this year led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON). These prompted Malacañang to suspend classes and government work nationwide so as not to inconvenience the riding public.