P1.3B for PUV modernization

The fresh funding is on top of the P843 billion allocated for this year to support the program.

The government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program received a boost following the allocation of an additional P447 million for the scheme next year, bringing the total funding to nearly P1.3 billion, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

According to Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, member of the House appropriations committee, the fresh funding is on top of the P843 billion allocated for this year to support the program.

“The government is likewise arranging to provide another P2.2 billion in low-cost financing to help PUV operators and drivers acquire the newly configured buses, vans and jeepneys under the program,” Pimentel said.

The P2.2-billion fund will be coursed through two state-owned lenders – the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines – at P1.1 billion each.

However, the amount is still lumped in the category of “unprogrammed appropriations” under the proposed P3.757 national budget for 2019 which can only be tapped when revenue collections exceed targets or when there are additional grants or foreign funding that comes in.

PUV modernization program is expected to provide a safer and easier way for commuters to travel, give operators and drivers the opportunity to upgrade their vehicles and help improve air quality in the cities.

Under the program, all PUV more than 15 years old will be phased out and replaced with new models equipped with automated fare collection systems, digital security and dashboard cameras, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, GPS tracking devices and speed limiters.

The new PUV will run either on electric batteries with zero exhaust gas emission, or on Euro 4 compliant diesel engines that emit less pollutants.

The modernization program also includes reforms in the franchising system to reinforce regulatory supervision of PUV. Fewer new franchises will be issued to PUV operators and drivers who will be required to form themselves into cooperatives or firms.

In the case of jeepneys, for instance, each operator must have a minimum of 10 units to obtain a single franchise. Thus, drivers running their own units will have to band themselves into groups of at least 10 members to secure a franchise.

Under the program, the Department of Transportation will draw up new PUV routes in consultation with local government units. An academy will also help train PUV operators and drivers on basic road discipline, courtesy and safety.


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