We're slowly starting to see a lot of modern PUVs roaming the streets. However, the DOTr would like to see even more of them on the road. Mark de Leon, DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport, said lawmakers should find ways to help jeepney operators and drivers comply with the program through additional subsidies.

This is in response to congressman Winston 'Wini' Castelo's call to require DOTr, LTO, MMDA, and LTFRB officials to take public transport for at least one month. The DOTr undersecretary said that they have no problem in doing so. He did hit back by saying the solons should take steps to further improve the state of commuting in the country. That being said, de Leon mentioned that the solution is more subsidies for operators to move to cleaner, safer vehicles.

“The PUVMP (public utility vehicle modernization program) is hinged on the welfare of the commuter. Some lawmakers in the House and the Senate have their doubts with the program. What we need is more funding so we can have more subsidies for the jeepney operators,” said de Leon. He adds, “I have no problems commuting. I do that every day even before I joined government. Riding public transport can be an eye-opener for some”.

At the time of writing, the government has allocated Php 447 million to kickstart the PUV modernization program. An additional Php 2.2 billion has also been earmarked for subsidies to support the low-cost financing under the 5-6-7-8 program. That program sees a 5-percent downpayment kept at a 6-percent interest rate, for as long as 7 years with a subsidy of Php 80,000.

To further advance the cause, the 20 new PUV routes to and from PITx that will be opened will only be eligible for operators who have shifted to the new vehicles. PUV operators nationwide must comply to the new rules come August 3, 2020, which marks the end of the transition period.