Home Romualdez orders investigation into PUV modernization program amid concerns of ‘corruption’

Romualdez orders investigation into PUV modernization program amid concerns of ‘corruption’

romualdez orders investigation into puv modernization program amid concerns of corruption

House Speaker Martin Romualdez stated on Thursday that he has ordered the House of Representatives to look into possible irregularities that may have “tainted the conceptualization and planned implementation” of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle modernization program.

According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the PUV Modernization Program was launched by the Department of Transportation in the Philippines to address transport-related issues and future transportation demands.

The program aims to transform the public transport system to make it more dignified, humane, and on par with global standards. It seeks to provide a safer, more efficient, reliable, convenient, affordable, climate-friendly, and environmentally sustainable transportation system.

In a statement, Romualdez announced his intention to ask the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation to independently investigate reports that corrupt activities may have compromised the planning and proposed execution of the program.

“The reports allege that existing transport officials are in cahoots with previous officials in negotiating for the imported modern jeepney units that will replace the old units,” he added.

The Speaker of the House urged the Department of Transportation to conduct a comprehensive reassessment and to postpone the execution of the program.

“The jeepney modernization program is not just about upgrading vehicles; it’s a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate our urban transportation landscape, making it safer, more reliable, and in tune with sustainable practices,” Romualdez said.

Transport groups in the Philippines were mandated to consolidate into corporations and cooperatives and switch to eco-friendly vehicles within 27 months. Despite protests, the deadline was upheld by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The modernization plan has been challenging for jeepney drivers and operators due to the high cost of modern minibuses. Economic think tank IBON Foundation warns that fares could rise 300% to 400% due to the phaseout of traditional jeepneys and UV expresses.

There is a dispute over the president’s claim that 70% of public utility vehicles (PUVs) have complied with the modernization plan, as militant groups argue that the data from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board misleadingly includes public buses.

Earlier, progressives warned that close to 140,000 drivers and 60,000 operators could lose their jobs by February due to the deadline set by the LTFRB. In response, Romualdez has called for support to be given to jeepney drivers transitioning to new vehicles and is exploring ways to provide them with a steady income.

Sources: (1),(2),(3)

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