Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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DOTr Secretary Tugade says PUV modernization program not anti-poor

Clark, Pampanga — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Monday clarified that the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) of the Duterte Administration is not anti-poor as claimed by some transport groups.

Contrary to claims of some groups that the program will eventually put PUVs out of business, particularly jeepneys, Tugade stressed that the PUVMP will help improve and strengthen the public road transport sector.

“Nililiwanag ko lang ho na yung programang modernization of public utility is not anti-poor; it is not designed to phase out the jeepneys or the jeepney business. It is actually designed to strengthen and guarantee the profitability of the jeepney business,” Tugade said during his speech after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) at the DOTr building in Clark, Pampanga.

The MOU signing coincided with the official launch of the DBP’s Support Alternative Driving Approaches (PASADA) Program.

The transportation chief said the DOTr, together with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Metro Manila Development Authority, are finding ways to improve public road transport system and facilities through the PUVMP.

“Gumagawa tayo ng pamamaraan na kung saan yung jeepney ay magiging compliant sa mga specification na gusto natin sa program upang ang paghahanap-buhay ay kakambalan natin ng responsibilidad sa kapaligiran. Maghanap-buhay ka pero ‘wag mong patayin ‘yung environment. Maghanap-buhay ka pero pangalagaan mo ang henerasyon na darating,” Tugade said.

Under the PUVMP, Tugade said transport cooperatives and corporations can avail of financial assistance, on top of a government subsidy, to upgrade their fleet with low-carbon emission, safe and efficient units.

DBP Chairman Alberto Romulo said that the DBP developed the PASADA Program, which will offer responsive and reasonable financing for transport corporations and cooperatives to allow them to acquire new and passenger safe PUVs.

“The PASADA program that we now envision is a major improvement of past initiative as it is part and parcel of a holistic government as designed by the DOTr under Secretary Tugade. Our officers and staff at DBP have done their best to formulate within existing parameters a responsive financing program that will soften the financial impact on drivers and their families while reducing of course our lending risk as well,” Romulo said.

For his part, Undersecretary for Road Transport Thomas Orbos said the PUVMP will not materialize without the help of DBP.

“We, at the DOTr, cannot accomplish this if we do not have a strong financial partner, which not does only bring in the financial component of this program but also the needed technical assistance,” Orbos said.

Last 30 April 2017, the DOTr also signed an MOU with the Landbank of the Philippines to set up a PhP1 billion financing for PUJs via the Special Environment-Friendly and Efficiently Driven (SPEED) Jeepney Program.

The DOTr is eyeing to sign similar MOUs with different private financing institutions in the next months geared towards pushing for the PUVMP. (DOTr)

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