By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

MODERNIZATION. Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas president Orlando Marquez Sr. (2nd from right) urges jeepney operators and drivers to support the government’s public utility vehicle modernization efforts, during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City on Jan. 6, 2024. He said the public utility vehicle modernization program is the solution to the heavy traffic congestion in the country. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) would help ease the traffic congestion in the country, the president of the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP) said on Saturday.

Itong (PUV) modernization, ito po ‘yung solusyon sa napakabigat na traffic (This PUV modernization is the solution to the heavy traffic),” LTOP national president Orlando Marquez Sr. said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, as he expressed support for the PUVMP.

Marquez urged jeepney operators and drivers who have yet to consolidate into a cooperative or a corporation to support the government’s PUV modernization efforts.

He pointed out that there was a series of public consultations before the current administration began implementing the PUVMP.

Lahat po ng mga patawag, regional at sa individual organization, nagkaroon ho ng public consultation (There have been consultations with regional and individual organizations. There has been a public consultation),” Marquez said.

Kailangan talaga ho ay sumunod po tayo sa batas ng gobyerno (We really have to follow the rules and regulation set by the government).”

While he respects the decision of some transport groups to stage a strike against the implementation of the PUVMP, Marquez said such move only encourages commuters to just ride a “habal-habal” (motorcycle taxi).

Mag-umpisa tayo doon sa proseso ng consolidation. Kapag nag-consolidate tayo, ‘yung proseso na susunod, magkakaroon tayo ng road rationalization (Let’s start with the consolidation process. It will be followed by the process that paves the way for road rationalization),” he said.

About 145,721 PUVs or 76 percent of all PUVs operating in fixed routes nationwide are consolidated or have applied for consolidation, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said on Friday.

The LTFRB said the consolidation rate for public utility jeepneys has reached 73.9 percent while UV Express units have reached 82 percent.

Also on Friday, Office of Transport Cooperatives chairperson Andy Ortega said transport cooperatives and corporations have assured that they would accept drivers who work for operators that failed to consolidate. (PNA)