‘Fair, equitable, and practical’: Vico Sotto shares view in support of PUV modernization

October 18, 2023 - 6:55 PM
Vico Sotto_July 2021
Vico Sotto speaking from a podium in this photo from his Facebook page on July 22, 2021. (Facebook/Vico Sotto)

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto expressed support for the plan to modernize public utility vehicles (PUV), but it should be “fair, equitable, and practical.”

Sotto said this on his X account as part of an advisory ahead of the transport strike of traditional jeepneys on October 16 and 17.

He initially advised his constituents that government vehicles were on standby to help passengers affected by the protest, citing the Pasig-Quiapo route.

Sotto then went on to share that “most” jeepney drivers and operators are open to the PUV modernization plan of the national government.

RELATED: Eyebrows raised over franchise consolidation deadline for PUV modernization 

He cited two “challenges” that make this program “unfeasible at the moment from their perspective.” These are:

  • Prohibitive costs, including unit costs that reach almost P3 million.
  • Certain difficulties beyond what is on paper

Sotto further recalled that owners or operators whose vehicles have been “modernized” also shared their “difficulties.”

“Difficulties, for instance, when it comes to the opening/modification of their routes. Hopefully, current investigations at the national level are taken seriously and will reveal the truth and what needs to be changed,” he said.

The city chief executive then urged: “Let’s continue to push for PUV modernization that is fair, equitable, and practical.”

Transport group Malayang Alyansa ng Bus Employees at Laborers (MANIBELA) led the nationwide strike on Monday and Tuesday. This movement was held to protest the following:

  • December 31 consolidation of traditional jeepneys into cooperatives and corporations
  • Alleged corruption woes against suspended Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Teofilo Guadiz III

Guadiz was accused of pocketing P5 million worth of bribe money for the approval of franchises, routes and special permits.

Former LTFRB information officer Jeffrey Gallos Tumbado made this allegation. Tumbado later recanted his statement, saying he only made them “out of impulse, irrational thinking, and misjudgment.”

READ: Suspended LTFRB chief denies corruption allegations 

The jeepney consolidation, meanwhile, is a requirement under the PUV Modernization Program.

This means operators have to “consolidate” their individual franchises to become part of a Fleet Management System by the end of this year.

READ: DOTr expects 80-90% ‘jeepney consolidation’ by December 2023 deadline 

Following their protest, Manibela said in an interview that 120,000 jeepneys participated, affecting 600 routes.

READ: Walang Pasok: Class suspensions for October 16, 17 due to transport strike 

The strike also caused the cancellation of classes of several classes in Metro Manila.

These include schools in the regions of Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Some universities also suspended onsite classes on the first day of the strike. These include the Miriam College, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila, the National University Manila and the University of Santo Tomas.

READ: ‘120k units went on strike’: MANIBELA refutes LTFRB’s estimate on tigil-pasada day 2