THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday allayed fears that the agency will soon phase out dilapidated jeepneys, saying no decision has been made regarding the matter.
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said the transport strike staged by a group of jeepney drivers Monday was unnecessary because the board has not decided on the implementation of the phasing out of public utility vehicles (PUV) that are at least 15 years old.
“The [transport]holiday was uncalled for because we have not come to a decision yet.” Ginez told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
LTFRB board member Ariel Inton Jr. echoed Ginez’s statement, saying no policy involving the phase out of rickety jeepneys is in place.
The Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) on Monday mounted a transport holiday to protest the alleged plan.
Commuters were forced to walk to their destinations as the protest caused heavy traffic.
“There is no mandatory in phasing out jeepneys that are over 15 years. What happened is that there is a draft department order by the DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communication). The LTFRB and LTO (Land Transportation Office) were given instructions to comment on the draft but there is no policy yet. If you want to modernize your jeepney, you can do so voluntarily for substitution of your unit. No total phase out,” Inton told The Manila Times.
He explained that officials have to discuss several matters before such a policy can be implemented.
“There are a lot of things that should be talked about first, like what will they do about the old jeepney, will it be destroyed? What financial package can the government give because a huge number of jeepney drivers are not financially capable of buying new jeepneys or electric jeepneys,” Inton said.
“The government is sensitive to the plight of the stakeholders. So the policy of phasing out of jeepneys is not easy. It is very clear that no mandatory phase out of jeepneys starting January. It is never our plan to transportation sector” he added.
Ginez said the issue will be discussed with ACTO and other transport groups.
“We are going to sit them down. We will talk this over with ACTO. We are not even close to deciding yet,” he explained.
“ACTO should be happy with the discussion in the dialogue. They are included in the decision making regarding the matter,” Ginez said.