Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro transport group at crossroads amid franchise consolidation deadline

Franck Dick Rosete

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Cagayan de Oro transport group at crossroads amid franchise consolidation deadline

WAITING. Two traditional jeepneys wait for passengers in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City, on April 26, 2024.

Franck Dick Rosete/Rappler

Amid mounting frustration, several Cagayan de Oro public utility vehicle operators find themselves contemplating the sale of their jeepneys or repurposing the vehicles

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A looming franchise consolidation deadline for public utility vehicles (PUVs) has sparked a wave of uncertainty and discontent among members of a public transportation group in Cagayan de Oro. Faced with alleged mismanagement and financial irregularities within the cooperatives, some operators find themselves at a crossroads, contemplating the sale of their jeepneys or repurposing the vehicles. 

Amid mounting frustration and accusations of regulatory apathy, the prospect of being left behind in the wake of consolidation efforts haunts the PUV operators, prompting urgent calls for greater participation in modernization initiatives while staunchly resisting the surrender of hard-earned franchises.

The United Drivers’ Association (UNIDA) expressed indifference towards the looming April 30 deadline for the franchise consolidation. 

Joel Gabatan, UNIDA president, said at least seven operators of jeepneys within the group have yet to consolidate their franchises. He said these operators, disheartened by the negative experiences shared by others who surrendered their franchises, are wary of the consolidation process.

Gabatan cited concerns regarding the alleged formulation of policies and the collection of substantial sums of money from members without proper approval from cooperative boards of directors. 

He also criticized the alleged lack of financial transparency, noting the absence of some of the cooperatives’ financial reports.

Gabatan said several complaints were submitted to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in Northern Mindanao that have yet to be acted upon. He said there was a need for the CDA to address the issues faced by cooperative members.

“Mao ning usa sa butang nga akong gisulti sa LTFRB nga ipaaligrar sa CDA ang kahimtang sa mga miyembro sa coop,” Gabatan told Rappler.

(This is one of the things I mentioned to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board so that they would prod CDA to look into the situation of the members of the cooperatives.)

In addition to management issues, Gabatan noted that unconsolidated operators struggle to meet the capitalization requirement of some P50,000, a prerequisite for joining a cooperative or corporation. 

He said most jeepney operators lack the financial means to meet this requirement, citing the example of his son, who sold his traditional jeepney for only P40,000.

Edwin Pelosas, the focal person for CDA-X’s transport operation, acknowledged that CDA received complaints regarding cooperative management challenges. 

But Pelosas denied claims of delayed action by the CDA, saying these were being handled within the prescribed time frame mandated by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). 

He urged unconsolidated operators to refrain from selling their jeepneys and instead consider joining modernization programs.

“Ang nahitabo lang, naay mga tao nga dili sila makontento sa action ni CDA (What happened was, there were people who were not contented to the actions of CDA),” Pelosas told Rappler on Sunday, April 28.

Despite concerns raised by UNIDA and other operators, Abosamen Matuan, director of LTFRB Northern Mindanao, reported a high consolidation rate of 97% for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) and 96% for UV Express vehicles in the region. 

Matuan expressed confidence that there would be no public transportation crisis post-deadline in Cagayan de Oro but assured contingency plans and continued efforts to encourage unconsolidated operators to modernize.

After the April 30 deadline, LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said franchises for individual PUV operators who failed to consolidate would be revoked, preventing them from operating their routes. –

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