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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. extended the government’s deadline for jeepney drivers to consolidate themselves into cooperatives or corporations by another three months.
“President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista’s recommendation, granting an additional three months until April 30, 2024, for the consolidation of public utility vehicles,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement on Wednesday, January 24.
“This extension is to give an opportunity to those who expressed intention to consolidate but did not make the previous cutoff,” it added.
The consolidation deadline already lapsed on December 31, 2023, but unconsolidated public utility vehicles (PUVs) had been allowed to keep operating until January 31, 2024.
Prior to the extension, over 1,900 jeepney and UV Express routes – where none of the PUV units traversing them formed a cooperative or corporation – were at risk of being wiped out by February 1.
Marcos previously said there would be no extension in order to follow the “current timeline.” He insisted at the time that the government could not allow the minority to “cause further delays.”
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said over 73% of jeepneys nationwide have consolidated, although that number is reduced to 51% in Metro Manila.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III called on jeepney operators and drivers “to take advantage of this opportunity provided by the President” for them to consolidate.
Before and after the December 31 consolidation deadline, transport groups mounted demonstrations to protest the PUV Modernization Program.
After consolidation, jeepney operators will be required to upgrade their vehicles, but drivers have been struggling to purchase pricey modern jeepneys. – Rappler.com