Senator Grace Poe via Facebook
Senate Committee on Public Services chairperson Senator Grace Poe has warned officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) of a possible cut in next year’s budget if they fail to answer various concerns of jeepney drivers and operators regarding the public utility vehicle modernization program of the government.
“Kung hindi nila magagawa yan magkakaproblema sila pagdating ng kanilang budget. Nasa kapangyarihan ng Kongreso at Senado na gawin yan,” Poe said.
“Siyempre ayaw naman natin na basta ipitin dahil maraming apektado, pero kailangan muna nilang patunayan ang kanilang sarili na sa tamang paraan nila ginagasta ang pinapamahagi ng taumbayan.”
Among the issues that the senator wants to clarify is whether or not the P80,000 subsidy would be enough to allow the drivers and operators to comply with the program.
She also noted the slow-paced distribution of fuel vouchers and claimed that, to date, only 25 percent of the total population of jeepney drivers nationwide has received their vouchers.
Senator Poe was the guest of honor at Monday’s transport summit led by the transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON).
The event was attended by hundreds of jeepney drivers and operators who expressed their doubts and complaints anew against the PUV nmodernization program.
PISTON clarified that they support the proposed improvements in the public transportation sector, but not the current version of DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) wherein, he said, only big car manufacturers will benefit from it and not the jeepney drivers and commuters.
The group is grateful to Poe for understanding their concerns.
PISTON national president, George San Mateo said, “Kampante kami at natutuwa kami sa pahayag ni Senator Poe kasi yun naman talaga ang gusto namin mangyari – maimbestigahan ulit itong isyu ng pekeng modernization. Lalo na on the basis ng mga bagong sirkular na nilabas ng LTFRB.”
Piston is asking the Senate committee to investigate what they claim is a questionable provision under the omnibus franchising guidelines that forces the individual operators to purchase modern jeepney units.
The LTFRB on the other hand has been pushing for upgraded models of jeepney units to prevent road accidents. — Joan Nano