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Cebu transport group highlights advantages of public transportation modernization program

Members of 11 transport cooperatives in Cebu are urging their colleagues to support the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) as the measure will result in effective mass transportation. 

Loreto Gerez, chairperson of the Mandaue Transport Cooperative, said he used to be against the PUVMP and was forced to join the program just to comply with the government’s requirements. 

Niagi man ‘sab ko ana. Kami sauna mura ba og lahi ang among pagtan-aw sa PUVMP, peru ni-comply lang gyud mi. (I also went through that. We had a different view of the PUVMP, but we just complied),” said Gerez. 

However, he soon experienced the benefits of transitioning to modern PUVs. 

Peru amo nakita dako nga nadawat namo gikan niining dakong proyekto, aduna na kami disenteng trabaho ang atong mga kaubanan. (We have benefited a lot from this project, we now have a decent job),” he said. 

The Mandaue Transport Cooperative is one of the 11 transport cooperatives that belong to the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperative (FCTC). 

FCTC members recently held a press conference where they highlighted the advantages of the modern PUV to drivers and the riding public. 

What is PUVMP?

The PUVMP is the government’s response to address both the aggravating transport related problems and the future transportation demand. 

The program is designed to modernize the transportation sector and provide a safer, more efficient, reliable, convenient, affordable, climate-friendly, and environmentally sustainable transportation system in the country, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. 

It aims to replace public utility vehicles (PUVs) that are older than 15 years to comply with environmental and safety standards. 

The consolidation of PUVs is a key component of the PUVMP. 

Transport cooperatives will be created and they will be entitled to benefits such as government subsidies and access to credit facilities. 

To continue operations, individual PUV operators must consolidate into a transport corporation or cooperative by joining an existing entity or creating a new one with at least 15 PUV operators.

Since its implementation in 2017, the modernization program has so far established 1,728 cooperatives and corporations with 262,344 members.

Members of the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperative hold a press conference urging the unconsolidated jeepney drivers to embrace the modernization program. (PIA7)
‘Forgotten sector’

The “forgotten sector” is how Carolyn Casane, chairperson of the Kalunasan Operators and Drivers Transport Cooperative, used to describe the transportation sector as traditional jeepney drivers did not have benefits nor do they have pension to look forward to when they retire. 

With the consolidation, cooperative members will earn a daily wage based on the minimum wage of their area.

They also have their government mandated contributions along with health care insurance.

“Saunang panahon nga traditional pa mi, wala namo ma-enjoy. Masakit mi sauna magkaboang pa mi og asa moduol. (When we were still drivers of traditional jeepneys, we did not enjoy any benefits. If we fell sick, we did not have anywhere to go for assistance), said Gerez. 

Gerez said they now have access to healthcare and social security. 

“Karon naa na mi kaduolan kay mandato man niining PUVMP ang kining accredited ka sa SSS, PhilHealth, PagBIG, unya gipun-an sa among coop og health care, aduna mi HMO. (Now we have benefits because PUVMP mandates that we have to be accredited with SSS, Philhealth, PagIBIG. Plus our coop has its own HMO),” he added. 

Save up for yourself, no more for the unit

Gerez shared that with the modernization program, drivers no longer have to worry about income loss should their vehicle need to be brought in for repairs as they can drive other available units instead. 

Apart from earning basic salary, drivers will also get a share of the cooperative’s income.

Gerez recalled that when they were operating traditional jeepneys, the money they earned would often go to the cost of vehicle repairs.

“Karon lahi na (Now, it's different),” Gerez said. 

Another advantage highlighted by the federation is having access to government services now that they have become a cooperative. 

“Sa nahimo na mi’ng cooperative, naa na’y salig ang gobyerno namo tungod kay ila ning programa. Bisan pa’g wala kay kwarta, bisan pa’g wala kay grado basta ilang program, nituman ka sa ilang mga pamaagi, mosupport gyud ang goberno (When we became a cooperative, the government now trust us. Because this program is theirs, even if you don't have money, even if you don't have a degree, as long as you follow their program, the government will support you),” said Priscilla Cabonita, chair of Lahug Apas Transport Cooperative.

Deadline for consolidation

Under the guidelines on the implementation of the PUVMP, unconsolidated individual operators who fail to file an application for consolidation prior to December 31, 2023 will no longer be allowed to organize into a judicial entity or join an existing consolidated Transport Service Entity. 

The deadline was moved to January 31, 2024, which was again extended until April 30. 

Currently, Region 7 has an 81 percent compliance rate for PUVMP. 

The federation is encouraging the remaining 19 percent of unconsolidated jeepneys to embrace the modernization program. 

Plenty of units 

Ellen Maghanoy, chair of the FCTC and the El Pardo Transport Cooperative, assured that the cooperatives have plenty of units to ply the main roads of Cebu. 

She said the vehicles are safe, comfortable, and emit environmentally-friendly emissions as it has a Euro 4 engine. 

The Euro emission standards seek to limit the vehicle’s toxic gas to attain cleaner, breathable air. 

Maghanoy said the capacity of each unit is equivalent to two traditional jeepneys. 

Robert Orilla, chair of Pit-os Talamban & Mandaue Transport Cooperative, said the cooperative is willing to welcome the unconsolidated jeepney drivers who would not be able to ply the roads of Metro Cebu after the deadline.  (JAT/PIA 7)

About the Author

Jositte Ann Tista


Region 7

Jositte Ann Tista is an Information Officer I at Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 7. 

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