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Clock is ticking: ‘Unconsolidated’ PUV drivers to get apprehended if they keep plying roads after Jan 31

jeep.jpg(Photo by Arnold Quizol/MANILA BULLETIN)

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III says “unconsolidated” public utility vehicles (PUV) drivers who will be caught plying roads beyond Jan. 31, 2023 will get apprehended.

Guadiz made this remark during a House Committee on Transportation motu proprio inquiry on Wednesday, Jan. 10, regarding the implementation of the controversial PUV modernization program.

The deadline for the PUV consolidation was Dec. 31, but the LTFRB later allowed operators to continue plying routes with below 60 percent consolidation rate. They were given until the end of January to continue their livelihoods.

But after that, it’s simply the end of the road for the drivers who chose not to undergo consolidation, which is part of the initial phase of the program.

Batanes Lome district Rep. Ciriaco Gato specifically asked the LTFRB chairman to confirm if drivers of unconsolidated vehicles would be apprehended after the Jan. 31 deadline.

“Pag pumasada sila sa daan po, dahil wala na silang prangkisa, yun ang magiging resulta,” Guadiz bluntly replied.

(If they continue to ply the road, and because they no longer have a franchise, that will be the result.)

However, Guadiz quickly clarified that drivers will not be arrested per se; instead they will be cited for driving a colorum vehicle.

The LTFRB recently said in a statement that it will use the entire month of January to issue show cause orders to unconsolidated PUV operators to get an explanation on why they failed to comply with the deadline.

Guadiz stressed that “As far as LTFRB is concerned, all franchises have lapsed na nung (already lapsed on) Dec. 31, which was the last day of consolidation.”

This means that operators and drivers are no longer obliged to join cooperatives or even surrender their franchises, since these are no longer valid.

“Yes, hindi niyo inoobliga pero katulad ng deadline na binigay ninyo, hindi nga inoobliga pero di na sila pwedeng magmaneho after Jan. 31,” said 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Bonifacio Bosita.

(Yes, you are not obliging it but like the deadline you gave, it’s not obligatory but they are not allowed to drive after Jan. 31.)

“So, sa salitang kanto, parang niloloko lang natin yung mga maliliit na drivers,” he noted.

(So, in street talk, it’s like we’re just fooling the small drivers.)

Citing data from the LTFRB, 38,000 out of 150,867 PUVs didn’t join the consolidation process.

Once the drivers of these units are no longer allowed on the road, Bosita estimates that around 200,000 people would be affected–a figure that includes the drivers’ families.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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