Baguio seeks extension of deadline for PUV modernization

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BAGUIO CITY December 28 – City officials requested the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to extend the deadline for the implementation of Department of Transportation (DOTR) Department Order No. 2017-11 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation Services and Franchise Issuance in the city.

Under Resolution No. 671, series of 2020, city legislators stated it is important for the LTFRB to take into consideration the various issues and concerns raised by local transport groups on the effect of the implementation of the local public transport route plan to ensure that there will be no public utility vehicles (PUVs) that will be displaced from the prosecution of the said plan.

Earlier, operators and drivers in the city appealed to the city’s legislative body to make the necessary representations with the concerned government agencies for the adoption of the possible ‘win-win’ solution in the implementation of the aforesaid plan as they are not yet reportedly ready and that some of their members cannot afford the requirements of the LTFRB in the implementation of the same.

Department Order No. 2017-11 issued on June 19, 2017 requires that supposedly by the end of December 2020, bus, taxi, utility vehicle (UV) express and jeepney operators and drivers must have consolidated their fleets under the public utility vehicle modernization program, otherwise, their franchises will be expired.

Subsequently, LTFRB issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-006 that prescribed the guidelines governing the public utility vehicle modernization program’s initial implementation pursuant to Department Order No. 2017-11.

While there are a few operators and drivers in the city who were able to consolidate their fleets under the aforesaid PUV modernization program, the council pointed out it will take a longer period of time to inform and educate the affected sectors on the benefits of having to consolidate their fleets pursuant to the government’s efforts to modernize the transport system.

According to the body, the LTFRB should also consider the proposals from the concerned sectors on how to formulate a possible ‘win-win’  solution in the implementation of the government’s PUV modernization program to avoid the displacement of drivers and the outright removal of the right of the operators to own the franchises of their motor vehicles that were duly issued to them by the LTFRB after the conduct of due process.

Further, the council also sought the consideration of the LTFRB on the appeal of the operators and drivers in the city because of the heavy impact inflicted by the current pandemic to the public transport industry following the suspension of mass public transportation during the various levels of community quarantine since March. The council added it was only last month that the government allowed the gradual resumption of mass public transportation with strict adherence to the basic health and safety protocols and only 50 percent capacity which does not make the business feasible at this point.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by: Armando M. Bolislis

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