PUVs in the Philippines

After deadline, unconsolidated jeepneys have until mid-May before LTFRB crackdown

Lance Spencer Yu

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

After deadline, unconsolidated jeepneys have until mid-May before LTFRB crackdown

STRIKE. Jeepney drivers plying the Guadalupe-Pedro Gil route encourage their fellow drivers along Agoncillo Street in Manila to join their transport strike protesting the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program, on November 20, 2023.


With their livelihoods on the line, some transport groups fight back with a transport strike and a petition before the Supreme Court

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will give unconsolidated jeepneys a 15-day leeway to still ply their routes before the government starts impounding their vehicles.

“Initially, during the first 15 days, sawayin muna ‘yung mga tao, bigyan ng reminder. Hindi naman po kaagad-agad (we’ll just tell people off, give them a reminder. It won’t be implemented right away),” LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said in a DZBB radio interview on Monday, April 29.

This comes just as the “final” deadline for jeepney consolidation approaches on Tuesday, April 30. The LTFRB has yet to release a memorandum circular stating exactly what will happen to unconsolidated jeepneys starting Wednesday, May 1, and whether or not they will be considered “colorum.” However, Guadiz has said in the past that those who fail to consolidate will have their franchises revoked.

The consolidation requirement has prompted repeated protests from some transportation groups, led by PISTON and Manibela, including an ongoing transport strike from Monday to Wednesday. Both groups oppose the revocation of their individual franchises.

PISTON and Manibela have also declared their intention to continue plying their routes after Tuesday, even if their jeepneys have not been consolidated. Guadiz warned that if jeepney operators and drivers do not heed the agency, the state would have the right to impound their vehicles.

Pagbibigyan muna namin sila. Sasabihin namin huwag na kayong bumiyahe, bigyan namin sila ng show cause order. Pero despite all of this at talagang tuloy-tuloy pa rin po, ang pulis na ka-partner ng LTFRB ang magpapatupad niyan, iimpound po ‘yung sasakyan nila,” Guadiz said in the radio interview.

(We’ll give them some leeway first. We’ll tell them not to ply their routes and serve them a show cause order. But if they continue despite all of this, the police in partnership with the LTFRB will enforce the policy and impound their vehicles.)

Jeepney operators and drivers could face hefty penalties reaching P50,000, along with a one-year suspension for drivers. Impounded jeepneys will also be taken to an impounding facility in Tarlac.

In the meantime, Guadiz said operators have until 10 pm of Tuesday to file even just partial requirements to signify their intent to consolidate.

After ‘forced’ jeepney consolidation, some cooperatives, routes may not be ready

After ‘forced’ jeepney consolidation, some cooperatives, routes may not be ready
How many jeepneys will be affected?

The LTFRB has yet to release an updated consolidation rate or a list of routes that could be affected come Wednesday. Rappler has followed up multiple times, but the agency said it was still finalizing figures.

The latest figures released to the media showed that as of April 1, 2024, more than 77% of public utility vehicle units have consolidated nationwide, which corresponds to about 75% of routes. Meanwhile, the consolidation rate in the National Capital Region based on PUV units remains to be just 52.54% – the lowest throughout the country, although this is equivalent to around 80% of routes, according to the LTFRB.

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NEARLY DONE? A table showing the PUV consolidation rate per region. Screenshot from LTFRB

Based on LTFRB data as of December 31, 2023, there were 395 jeepney routes in Metro Manila with no consolidated entities. Nationwide, up to 1,948 routes had no consolidated jeepney or UV Express entities.

Currently, Guadiz said there are about 600 jeepneys in Metro Manila affiliated with PISTON and Manibela, the two transport groups most vocal in opposing the mandatory consolidation. The LTFRB chairman said he has already talked to other “rescue routes” that can take over routes that may be affected once unconsolidated jeepneys are off the road.

He also said displaced jeepney drivers could be absorbed by other cooperatives who will need additional manpower to serve new routes.

‘Yung mga tsuper na nawalan ho ng jeepney na ipapasada po, meron pong mga bakante rito,” Guadiz said in the radio interview. “Ang mawawalan is the operator. Dahil hindi niya sinama ‘yung jeep niya, mawawalan siya ng hanapbuhay. Pero si driver po, na-aabsorb ng mga existing cooperatives.

(Those drivers who will lose jeepneys to ply can fill other vacancies. It’s the operators who will miss out. Because they didn’t include their jeep, they will lose their livelihood. But for the driver, they can be absorbed by existing cooperatives.)

These same reassurances were given by former Office of Transportation Cooperatives chairman Jesus Ferdinand “Andy” Ortega, who said existing cooperatives promised to accept drivers from operators who were unable to consolidate.

Ortega, who now sits as the road transport and infrastructure undersecretary, emphasized that the April 30 deadline will not be adjusted to accommodate any group anymore.

“‘Yung ayaw talaga sumama sa consolidation now are the same people or group na talagang hindi sasali last year when I came to office (Those who really don’t want to consolidate now are the same people or group that didn’t want to join last year when I came to office),” Ortega said in a recent media briefing with transport cooperatives.

“It’s really more of respecting their decision na ayaw sumali (that they don’t want to join),” he said, adding that “almost 80%” have agreed to consolidate.

Strike, SC petition

But some transport workers continue to fight back against the government’s policy of mandatory consolidation.

On Monday, transport groups led by PISTON, along with the Bayan Muna party, filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a temporary restraining order against the modernization program.

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PROTEST. Drivers and operators belonging to transport group PISTON picket the Supreme Court in protest of the jeepney modernization program on April 23, 2024. Photo by Rappler

The groups’ petition argues that the consolidation requirement was “carried out by forces, rather than affiliation” with jeepney drivers “compelled to join cooperatives through coercion or undue influence, such as threats of license revocation or denial of permits.”

The groups also pointed to the prohibitive cost of some imported modern jeepneys, which can reach up to P2.8 million each – unaffordable for most operators, even with the “measly” government subsidy. (READ: Anti-poor? How gov’t defends PUV modernization, why jeepney stakeholders oppose it)

Transport groups filed a similar petition challenging the modernization program before the SC in December 2023, but that was denied in early March 2024.

PISTON also announced its ongoing three-day nationwide strike on Saturday, April 27. Although Manibela has not explicitly stated that it would join the strike, the group’s chairman Mar Valbuena said they stand in solidarity with their fellow operators and drivers.

Itong tatanggalin natin ng trabaho ngayong Mayo 1, isipin mo – Araw ng Paggawa, ‘yun ‘yung araw na mawawalan kami ng hanapbuhay (This loss of jobs on May 1, think about it – it’s Labor Day, and that’s the very day that we’ll lose our livelihood),” Valbuena said in a press conference on Monday morning. – Rappler.com

Can jeepney fares stay at P15 after modernization? Experts fear it could double.

Can jeepney fares stay at P15 after modernization? Experts fear it could double.

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.