PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, that there is a need for the country to modernize its transport sector, particularly public utility vehicles (PUVs), but there should be a consensus.

In an interview with reporters in Manila, Marcos expressed support for the PUV modernization program, but its implementation needs more discussions among its stakeholders, particularly jeepney drivers groups.

He highlighted the need to ensure the road safety of PUVs.

“Sa aking palagay ay kailangan din gawin talaga ‘yan. Ngunit sa pag-aaral ko, parang hindi maganda ang naging implementation nung modernization…‘Yung modernization siguro, ‘yung we have to look properly at what the real timetable is for the introduction of electric vehicles kung talagang kailan, kung puwede na ngayon,” said Marcos.

(In my opinion, it is necessary to do so. However, based on my research, the implementation of modernization seems to have been inadequate. We need to carefully examine the modernization plans to determine the actual timetable for the introduction of electric vehicles and whether it is currently feasible.)

“Palagay ko hindi pa puwede ngayon, 30 percent pa lang ng power natin is renewable, e. So hindi pa urgent sa ngayon. Hindi pa kaya ng imprastraktura natin, so we have to build that up,” he added.

(I don’t think it’s possible now, only 30 percent of our power is renewable. So it’s not urgent yet. Our infrastructure is not yet capable, we have to build that up.)

Marcos assured transport groups that the PUV modernization program of the government will not be an additional burden to the operators and drivers.

The program aims to replace old and traditional jeepneys with higher-quality, environmentally friendly vehicles that have greater capacity.

Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board approved Memorandum Circular 2023-013, which stipulates that individual operators of traditional jeepneys will no longer be permitted to operate after June 30, 2023, unless they join a cooperative or corporation and are granted with provisional authority for franchise.

Transport groups are planning to stage a one-week strike starting on March 6 to express their opposition to the government’s PUV modernization program, which was launched by the previous administration. (SunStar Philippines)