The replacement of old public utility vehicles and the transportation route plan are the two main concerns attendant to the implementation of the Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program (PUVMP) in Puerto Princesa City.
These issues cropped up during the recent public consultation together with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regional office and Puerto Princesa City PUV operators that need immediate action, according to Councilor Nesario Awat.
Awat expressed concern that operators will not be able to afford to buy new vehicles as required under the modernization scheme, which poses a big problem come March 31, 2023, the deadline for the implementation of the PUVMP, where renewal of franchise for existing PUVs also ends.
“Ang isa sa mga naisip natin na solusyon is the deferment of implementation ng modernization dito sa lungsod, at naniniwala tayo na yung LTFRB at yung (Department of Transportation (DOTr) ay makikinig naman sa atin. If necessary, I will sponsor a resolution to that effect so that this will be properly addressed,” Awat told the media in an interview, Monday.
“Pangalawa, wala pa naman sa committee yung approval ng LTFRB dito sa route plan. So in other words, we still have plenty of time to at least, defer yung implementation ng modernization para itong problema ay mabigyan ng solusyon. So we are hoping for the best and we are positive that we will be able to address properly yung problema ng operators,” he added.
He explained that a deferment for one or two years will be a big help for the operators because the national government will also grant financial assistance in the amount of P160,000 per operator out of the P10 billion that the DOTr has allocated this year, as stated by the representative from the LTFRB during the dialog. The aid will go directly to the bank that will serve as a down payment for the new vehicle.
He also said that while operators are willing to apply for a loan, they are also hesitant for fear that they might not be able to pay the monthly amortization because of the price of the new units, which depends on the trunk line they will operate on.
“So yun ang rerepasuhin namin sa susunod public dialog sa Huwebes, kung yung classification ba ay tumutugma doon sa particular trunk line,” he said.
Awat also said one of the purposes of the joint memorandum circular of the DoTr, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOTC) that orders the modernization is the reduction of carbon emissions from vehicles.
He said the new vehicles under the modernization program seem to run counter-productive to the purpose because they still operate on fuel.
“Sa tingin ko, dapat magkaroon ng pag-aaral ang national government dahil baka pag bumili sila ng sasakyan, ok nga yung test for emissions, but eventually ma-phase out din dahil ang tatakbo nang mga sasakyan ay mga battery-operated vehicles. Pangalawa, it will not serve the purpose of modernization dahil yung mga multicabs at old PUVs ay papayagan pa ring tumakbo as private vehicles, so nandya pa rin at dadami pa ang sasakyan, may emission pa rin,” he surmised.