A TOTAL of 1,131 transport cooperatives with 110,909 Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators have been accredited for the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) based on latest data from the Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC), an attached agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“We are urging all transport groups to follow these cooperatives who are ready to adhere to the requirements of modernizing their franchise. The number of transport cooperatives is increasing which shows that many drivers and operators support government’s call for a safer and better transportation system for our commuters,” said Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor of DOTr.
The number of transport cooperatives has almost tripled from the reported 429 groups prior to the PUVMP launch last 2017. The DOTr is confident in the continuous increase in PUVMP-compliant cooperatives leading to the June 2020 deadline for the full implementation of the program.
Consolidation of cooperatives strengthens financial capability in funding new PUV units. Instead of drivers and operators purchasing the new units themselves, cooperatives may take out loans from banks that offer financial assistance to comply with the PUVMP.
“Drivers will benefit from putting up cooperatives as they will now become operators as well. Apart from monthly salaries and benefits such as SSS and PhilHealth, they will also earn from the profit of the cooperative. We strongly urge our drivers and operators to register now as a cooperative,” Pastor said.
Pastor added that while the June deadline for the PUVMP is set, DOTr has given consideration to individual PUV drivers and transport groups that will not be able to fully modernized come June 2020.
“Those who will not able to comply with the PUVMP by June 2020 will still be granted probationary authority to operate for one year, but on two conditions. First, they must submit a certification from LTO (Land Transportation Office) that their vehicles are roadworthy. Second, their transport groups must file for consolidation of franchise,” Pastor explained.
DOTr also underscored the importance of the policies for the issuance of the franchise for road-based public transport services in recognition of its responsibility in ensuring the safety of commuters.
One of the main objectives of the PUVMP is the strict enforcement of the highest standards for public utility vehicles to ensure its roadworthiness.
“DOTr prioritizes the safety of our commuters. The recent death of 14-year-old Jules should be the last. It is the right of every commuter to be provided legal, safe, and efficient modes of transportation,” Pastor said.
The National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection, Inc. headed by Chairperson Elvira Medina fully supports the PUVMP. According to Medina, only 30 percent of jeepneys plying various routes in the Philippines are legal.
There are over 236,000 jeepneys in the Philippines but only 30 percent are legal. Our commuters do not feel safe in riding colorum vehicles, but they do not have a choice. But if these drivers become members of the cooperative, colorum vehicles will be wiped out,” Medina said.
Medina’s team have been actively meeting with various transport group nationwide to encourage them to setup cooperatives. “There are transport groups are close to finishing the setup of their cooperatives. These cooperatives will not only phase out jeepneys that are not roadworthy but will also bring radical change in the transport sector that finally prioritizes the welfare of the commuters and drivers,” she added.
Among the transport groups that Medina’s team have started discussions to form a cooperative are the Nasugbu Transport Cooperative, Calatagan Transport Drivers, and Calamba Transport Cooperatives in Laguna