The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and several Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) operators’ associations met on Wednesday to discuss a plan to modernize the most commonly used passenger utility vehicle in the country.
“The dialogue was requested by five jeepney operators’ associations to be able to present their proposals on how to modernize this sector of transportation,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sacgal said in a text message to The Manila Times.
“Since the DOTC has begun formulating a jeepney modernization program, we look forward to working together with these stakeholders, so we can come up with a collaborative and inclusive solution,” he added.
Industry groups present were the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap); Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (Acto); partylists 1-United TrAnsport Koalisyon (1-Utak); Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap); Liga ng mga Transportasyon at Operator sa Pilipinas (Ltop); and Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila & Suburbs Drivers Association (Pasang Masda); while fleet managers from 1-Team, Comet and Filinvest represented the private sector.
The agenda included a presentation of the Road-based Transport Reform Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA), the Proposed Vehicle Technology and Financing Options, sharing of experiences such as the successful models of jeepney consolidation and modernization plan (for replication), updates from the Electronic Vehicle Association: roadmap and dialogue on issues and concerns.
Tremendous growth in motorized transport is seen challenging sustainable development worldwide. The transport sector already contributes the second highest share of energy-related CO2 emissions globally at 27 percent, and is the fastest growing sector in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
According to GIZ, the implementing agency of the German federal government that tackles sustainable development issues, about 70 percent of all trips in the Philippines are served by public transport.
About 34 percent of all energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country are produced by the transport sector, it added. The Philippine government promotes improvement of the integration of public transport planning and operation, as well as the shift to low-emission public transport vehicles.
A project called TRANSfer, which is run by GIZ and funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), aims to support efforts by developing economies to implement climate change mitigation strategies in the transport sector.
The project follows a multi-level approach: At the country level, TRANSfer supports selected partner countries in developing and implementing NAMAs in the transport sector. The NAMAs supported by the project cover a broad variety of approaches in the partner countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa Peru and Colombia.
At the international level, the project helps accelerate the learning process on transport NAMAs with comprehensive sets of measures (events, trainings, facilitation of expert group, documents with guidance and lessons learned such as the transport NAMA handbook and database.)
Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it was pursuing its drive to modernize the country’s transportation sector by introducing policies aimed at curtailing the number of old and decrepit public utility vehicles (PUVs) from plying the national roads.
The Board promulgated Resolution No. 2013-10 on January 11, 2013 for the strict observance of the 15-year-age limit on public utility minibus, from the date of manufacture of the vehicle instead of the date of initial registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The program is part of the DOTC’s ‘Modernization of Public Transport Service’ initiative in phasing out, among others, public utility minibuses that are more than 15 years old.
LTFRB Chairman Wiston Ginez has said that “a transport system with modern and roadworthy PUVs plying the national roads prevents pollution and ensures a reliable and safe commute for the riding public.”
CA dismisses petition
As anticipated, a group of minibus operators opposed the Board’s policy and filed a petition to stop the implementation of an order mandating the phase-out of their units that are more than 15 years old.
The Court of Appeals (CA) issued an order dismissing the petition of the transport groups, ruling that there is no compelling reason to issue a restraining order against the phase-out order issued by the Board.
In line with its modernization program, the Board has ceased from confirming and allowing the extension of the certificates of public convenience issued to 15-year old minibuses.
In the seven-page CA resolution issued on Monday, the appeals court’s 14th Division said there was no compelling reason for the issuance of a TRO, much less for a writ of preliminary injunction.
The CA said that the petitioners failed to show that they would suffer grave and irreparable injury from the implementation of the order.
The DOTC started to push for the modernization of the country’s public land transport services in January.