There is no stopping the PUVMP, more formally known as the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. The LTFRB has given deadline extensions and has weathered constant transport strikes in opposition to the Program, but the pieces are set, the board laid out, and the gauntlet laid down for unconsolidated PUVs. In an official statement yesterday, the agency will allow these PUVs to ply their routes until the end of April this year, but on one condition: the vehicles must be LTO-registered.
PUVMP deadline for unconsolidated PUVs set for April 30, 2024
Citing Memorandum Circular 2024-001 – the official Memo that lines up the guidelines of the PUVMP – LTFRB Chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III announced that provisional authority has been granted to unconsolidated operators and their units to operate until the 30th of April this year legally.
According to Memorandum Circular 2024-001: “The authority to operate the units of all unconsolidated individual operators is EXTENDED until 30 April 2024, provided the unit is currently registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and has a valid Personal Passenger Accident Insurance Coverage. Confirmation of units of unconsolidated individual operators may be allowed until April 30, 2024. The said units are allowed to ply the route as PUV only within the said period.”
This new announcement may very well spark a few more transportation strikes by some groups who have strongly opposed the PUVMP. It’s been well-documented that the past few demonstrations did not – allegedly – have the desired effect of “paralyzing” public transport as the government’s various agencies have stayed on top of any such repercussions.
From “Libreng Sakay” to added “makeshift” PUVs, alternatives and options were continuously provided to and for the commuting public to address the possibility of a lack of transportation during these planned strikes. While a good number of groups have agreed and have already undergone consolidation, there are still those who maintain that the Program is “anti-poor” and that the Modernization will mean the loss of jobs of many operators and drivers.
For everyone’s understanding, the LTFRB has cleared what now happens after the Consolidation Deadline has lapsed; the deadline was set on December 31, 2023.
As it stands, the PUVMP is full speed ahead, and strikes or not, it will be carried out as planned. The public has been divided about its benefits and the rationale behind it, but the fact remains that the LTFRB will not be swayed, and nor will the Department of Transportation and other branches of government, even on the national level.
What will happen, indeed? Are you in favor of the PUVMP? Is it “anti-poor”? Will newer and more modern PUVs bring about a cleaner and safer form of transportation while still being able to provide jobs to hundreds of PUV operators and even more PUV drivers? Or could this be held up more than it already has until it simply “dies a natural death” like some other plans set out for the PUV sector?