By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program will be implemented as planned despite the points brought up by Senator Grace Poe during the recent Senate hearing, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified.
Transportation Undersecretary for Roads, Transport and Infrastructure Thomas Orbos emphasized in a press conference Tuesday three points to prove that they are ready to implement the program.
“Primarily, handa po ang ating gobyerno for modernization [program]. number two, within three years, gagawin po namin iyan. Number three, magsisimula po kami ng 2018, January (Our government is ready for the modernization program; number two, in three years, we shall do it; number three, we shall start in January 20181,” Orbos said.
In an earlier public hearing, Senator Poe had pointed out that the government’s plan is still not concrete to be fully implemented.
Poe is the chairman of the Senate committee on public services. She had conducted the hearing after transport Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) planned to stage a two-day transport strike earlier this month.
Poe said that the department needs to clarify the program’s clear guidelines such as its funding and accreditation of manufacturers.
Orbos debunked Poe’s opinion that it will be hard for the department to implement the program within three years.
Orbos clarified that the first three years, starting January 2018, will be their transitory period. He added that the full implementation will be after three years or hopefully, within the period.
He explained that the “full blast” implementation next year will not only be in Metro Manila but also in Central Luzon, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos City, among others.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra, who was also present during the press conference, also emphasized that the government is backing up their modernization program after President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement to clear old jeepneys by January.
“There is a sense of passion and urgency. It means that he really wanted this [modernization program] to happen. But we all know that it is not going to happen in a snap,” Delgra said.
“That’s why we are doing it now to be implemented immediately. Hopefully, the plan can be rolled-out earlier, within three years, or after that,” he added.
Orbos also urged the riding public, the transport groups, and all the transport agencies to unite and support the program “to be able to finish it sooner than later.”