LTFRB Spokesperson Celine Pialago

QUEZON CITY – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday (Nov. 21) announced that the validity of the franchise of the public utility vehicles (PUVs) and the Utility Vehicles (UV) Express units will be extended from one year to five years once the consolidation process is completed.

In a press conference, LTFRB Spokesperson Celine Pialago said that the proposal of the striking PISTON (Pinag-isang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide) to waive the “confirmation fees” is “doable”.

Pialago noted that some drivers are directly transacting with the LTO (Land Transportation Office) and “bypassing” the LTFRB, which is a violation of their franchise with a fine of Php5,000 to Php10,000.

“Once the consolidation process is completed, the franchise period of one year will be extended to five years,” she said.

“To scrap the consolidation process is not acceptable. Three of the four proposals are doable and the one is unacceptable,” she added.

The LTFRB spokesperson said that the LTO (Land Transportation Office) has the standards as to what are to be considered as the “road-worthy” PUVs and UV Express units.

“Pag sapilitan ang pagmodernize ay hindi po napag-usapan. 3 doables at 1 ay may adjustment. Gusto po naming witness ang publiko para hindi na paulit-ulit. Gusto po nilang i-extend at wala ng deadline at walang sapilitang consolidation.

Babagsak at babagsak sa four proposals,” Pialago said.

On whether or not the Omnibus Modernization Guidelines ay masusunod po ba, she said that “Not in my level kung ano ang aalisin sa guidelines ng Omnibus Modernization Program. Ang mga consolidation processes ay bago naaprobahan ay pinag-aralan po yan,” she added.

“Paglalagay ng pangalan nila o legal name kasi di talaga maipapangalan sa individual na tao dahil sa ilalim ng consolidation ay dapat nasa pangalan ng cooperative,” Pialago said.

“Maliwanag dapat na identified ang name ng OR (Official Receipt) at CR (Certificate of Registration) ng ownership at ang shares ng bawat members ng cooperative,” she added.

Pialago stressed that the stakeholders are included in the consolidation process hence, the 60 percent is a big acceptance of the consolidation program.

She challenged that if another 100 dialogues are needed to implement the PUVMP (Public Utility Vehicle Modernizatino Program), let’s do it.

The LTFRB executive pointed out that it was the first time yesterday (Monday) that an LTFRB Chairman walked to the streets and held a dialogue with the striking drivers who are members of PISTON.

“In all humility, bumaba na po sa kalsada si Chairman Guadiz at kakausapin pa rin sila na itigil na ang transport strike nila,” she said.

“Kapag nasa ilalim na ng cooperative, ay kumpleto na ng management at financial assistance ng cooperative o corporation. Legal assistance ng LTFRB ang ieextend sa mga tsuper at operator para mafacilitate ang consolidation process,” Pialago said.

“60 percent na po sa PUV jeeps ay consolidated na at 70 percent naman sa UV Express consolidated na rin. Ang franchise po ay privilege given to the operator, part of which is to face the consequences when violations are committed,” she added.

Pialago noted that the guidelines which were submitted by the LTFRB to the DoTr have already been revised.

“We go to the LTFRB for the revision of the guidelines which will be submitted again to the DoTr. Kaiilangan pong magkaroon ng positive changes doon sa guidelines,” she said.

Likewise, the LTFRB spokesperson said that yesterday, 686 government assets were prepared, but only 66 assets were deployed in areas where there are many “stranded” or with many “foot traffic” during rush hours such as in Cubao, Quezon City.

She added that the number coding was also lifted yesterday. The strike will be lifted before lunch and they will hold a dialogue after lunch.

Based on their dialogue, if you don’t pass the Philippine National Standards (PNS), they will not be allowed to ply their route, but if they pass the LTO standards, they will still be allowed to ply their route.

“Para hindi sila magkagulo at magkaintindihan na, papayagan pa rin silang bumiyahe sa Jan. 1, 2024,” Pialago said.

“50 po ang allowed sa isang route ng consolidation, kailangan pong i-fit in ang 50 na allowed sa route to operate sa number of units,” she added.

If ten of the units will not be consolidated, the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) at TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) will extend help and assistance to them.

Pialago said that the LTFRB has stated that 27 months within which to consolidate into cooperatives for them to be eligible for the PUVMP of the LTFRB.

She added that only a petition for consolidation is needed on Dec. 31, 2023 if they are not yet consolidated such that they can prepare for 50 units for a route, but the franchise for the cooperative will not yet be granted. After which, the rest will follow.

She assured that all the transport groups will be treated fairly when it comes to guidelines.

Pialago noted that only PISTON is left behind who doesn’t want the consolidation and when they agree with the consolidation, the consolidated will be 80 percent already.

She cited that there are routes with only ten units which depend on the route of public transport, there are also 38 units in every town.

It is two-page guidelines which contain the willingness to undergo the modernization program which can be 15 units where the OR/CR will identify the shares and ownership of the franchise whether a cooperative or a corporation.

She stressed that the 27 months is only a deadline to complete all the requirements to consider the road worthiness of the PUVs and the UV Express units. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.