DOTr asked to submit update on jeep modernization

By Azer Parrocha

MANILA -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) should submit its report on latest developments regarding the jeepney modernization program to avoid “confusion,” a senator said Tuesday.

Senator Grace Poe reminded the DOTr to enlighten the public on the latest developments regarding the jeepney modernization program amid its planned roll out this year.

Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said that all the details should be laid out on the table because for ordinary jeepney drivers, it is their livelihood at stake.

“We want to know what has happened to the modernization program. Has the DOTr come up with clear guidelines on how to implement this? There are still many things to be ironed out,” Poe said in a statement.

She, meanwhile, appealed for sobriety among jeepney operators and drivers mulling to hold street protests following the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s implementation of the “Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok” program, which some groups are linking to the modernization program.

“The lack of transportation hits the commuters hard and disrupts work and classes,” Poe said.

Last December, Poe, in a hearing with transport officials and jeepney drivers and operators, recommended the conduct of a pilot test of the modernization program amid the absence of clear guidelines and lack of consultation with the transport groups.

She suggested that the DOTr test the program on specific areas, and focus first on doable tests, such as compliance to safety, road worthiness and smoke emission.

The DOTr vowed to have a continuing dialogue with PUV organizations, operators and employees.

Poe also appealed that old models which passed road-worthiness tests be allowed to continue plying their routes and that jeepney operators comply with the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) results which had been recently set up by the DOTr.

She said that while there was a need to modernize the country’s public transportation, such as jeepneys, the program should not result in killing the source of livelihood of the drivers.

“The government should step in to ensure the public a convenient and safe way to commute, with the opportunity for the drivers and operators to upgrade their vehicles. However, it should not be too burdensome for them,” she said. (PNA)