The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) MIMAROPA, in partnership with the Provincial Planning and Development Office of the Palawan Provincial Government, held a Public Transportation Modernization Program (PTMP) Information Drive and Transport Forum Tuesday, March 19, at the VJR Hall in the capitol.

Some 58 representatives from various transport groups of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJ), Public Utility Vehicles (PUV), and Filcab in Palawan attended the event.

Transport Development Officer II Lemuel John Silva and Alexander Foja from LTFRB MIMAROPA served as resource speakers, explaining the laws, changes, and processes of the program.

The significant components of the PTMP were discussed, including Regulatory Reform, LGU Local Public Transport Route Planning (LPTRP), Route Rationalization, Fleet Modernization, Industry Consolidation, Financing PUV Modernization, Vehicle Useful Life Program, Stakeholder Support Mechanism, Initial Implementation, and Communications.

Silva also reminded the transport sectors about the changes in Memorandum Circular 2024-001, extending the Provincial Authority (PA) of Individual Operators until April 30.

Routes with more individual operators, but not less than the minimum of 15, are allowed to join or consolidate as a cooperative or corporation until the end of the month.

For routes not yet covered by an approved LPTRP, filing for consolidation of a new Transport Service Entity (TSE) will be allowed if the number of individual operators is not less than 40% of the total number of Authorized Units on the route.

In his message, Engr. Rafael R. Balcueba, representing Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Sharlene D. Vilches, emphasized the forum’s goal of increasing transport consolidation to avoid existing disorganized practices such as passenger poaching due to the fragmented operation of transport groups, especially those with small units experiencing inefficient dispatch or deployment of vehicles.

“This is in response to the Regional Director’s request to conduct a forum to accommodate other transport groups that have not yet consolidated. Based on their data according to RD, only 79% of the transport groups have consolidated in Palawan. We are still proud that we are higher compared to other provinces,” he said.

Industry Consolidation is a crucial component of PTMP, aiming to unite small transport industry players to form legal entities such as corporations or cooperatives.

According to the Provincial Information Office, Governor Dennis M. Socrates aims to establish a harmonious relationship between LTFRB and transport sectors in the province through the information drive and forum, recognizing its significant impact on the province’s economic growth and development.