Bacolod City

Bacolod legislators make last-ditch effort to avert jeepney crisis, unrest

Erwin Delilan

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Bacolod legislators make last-ditch effort to avert jeepney crisis, unrest

PROTEST. Jeepney operators and drivers in Bacolod hold a protest against the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program on May 1, 2024. BACOD-MANIBELA photo


A public transport leader says 30,000 people in Bacolod alone depend on traditional jeepneys for their daily living, and they will start hurting after May 15

BACOLOD, Philippines – With the looming phaseout of traditional jeepneys threatening to spark social unrest in Bacolod, local legislators have launched a final push to stave off the crisis. 

As the jeepney consolidation deadline of May 15 approaches, 10 out of 14 city councilors passed Resolution No. 371, calling on Congress to enact measures addressing the fallout from the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

The local legislators said they anticipate that once the JCD lapses, there will be social unrest not just in Manila but also in Bacolod.

Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said he went to the House of Representatives and Senate on Tuesday, May 7, to hand in copies of the May 3 Bacolod city council resolution to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Bacolod stands to lose more than 3,000 traditional jeepneys whose owners and drivers still refuse to join cooperatives for consolidation based on the rules being implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Land Transportation Regulatory and Franchising (LTFRB).

LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said they have until May 15 to run on the streets. After May 15, if they insist, they will be given show-cause orders to explain why they continue to defy the rules.

That will be the start of an impending transport mess, specifically when defiant jeepney owners are fined P50,000 for each unit, and drivers are suspended for one year, said Rudy Catedral, president of the Bacolod Alliance of Commuters, Operators, and Drivers Incorporated (BACOD).

Catedral said they will not cease calling out to the government to hear their plea to allow them to still operate while a transition is ongoing.

He said around 30,000 people in Bacolod depend on traditional jeepneys for their daily living, and they will start hurting after May 15.

Thousands of commuters in Bacolod and the rest of Negros Occidental will be inconvenienced once there are no more traditional jeepneys in the streets, Catedral said.

“That’s why we will not rest our case, and our cause,” he stressed.

Lilian Sembrano, president of Kabacod Negros Transport Organization (KNETCO), said her group was planning to stage street demonstrations daily.

Sembrano describes PUVMP as an “unjust act” by the national government, specifically by the DOTr.

Bacolod legislators, however, were not losing hope that social unrest would be averted.

Local transport groups in Bacolod doubted the motivation of the local legislators, calling the city council resolution a “last-minute” move, and “pamulitika” (for politics only).

“Too late the hero,” Catedral said of the city council’s resolution.

Catedral expressed frustration, noting that they’ve sought assistance from the local government since last year to advocate for their cause. 

“But we’ve been ignored as if we’re inconsequential to them,” he lamented.

“Now that the issue is under debate, they suddenly act as if they’re intervening? It’s political maneuvering. We’re not pleased; we’re deeply unhappy with their actions,” he said. –

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