The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is giving PUV operators a helping hand when they join the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOTr has doubled the equity subsidy for existing or new operators joining the PUVMP.

A directive was recently signed by DOTr Secretary Arthur 'Art' Tugade which amended the provision in Department Order No. 2018-016. This was done in order to further assist drivers and operators as they make the switch from traditional PUJs to the more modern PUVs amid the pandemic.

From PhP 80,000, the DOTr will now grant a PhP 160,000 per PUV as an equity subsidy for existing PUV operators with valid franchises. The subsidy will also apply to PUV operators applying for new or developmental routes under the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG). Tugade claims that the increase in subsidy is their way of helping stakeholders who are participating in the PUVMP as the country slowly begins to shift towards the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modern PUV image

“Habang sumusulong tayo patungo sa pagbabago, ito ‘ho ang paraan namin para sabihing kaagapay ninyo kami sa Kagawaran ng Transportasyon. [As we move towards change, this is our way of saying that the Department of Transportation is with you]. Contrary to the statements of other critics, we are here to assist and hear the concerns of all stakeholders. Especially now that we are gearing to a future wherein modernization will greatly benefit everyone,” said Tugade.

The DOTr Secretary also added that the increase in subsidy is retroactive, meaning those that have applied from July 31, 2018, are included. “Retroactive ho ito. Ang ibig sabihin, kahit na nakakuha na ng previous amount, makukuha pa din ho ng driver o operator 'yung balanse,” said Tugade.

[This is retroactive. It means that even if they have already earned the previous amount, the driver or operator will still get the balance]

Modern PUV image

Martin Delgra, the Chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), welcomed the increase in subsidy as it would allow more PUV drivers and operators to join the PUVMP.

“More PUV operators and drivers can now participate in the PUV Modernization Program as they are assured of access to loans, especially from government-run banks. We are assuring our PUV drivers and operators that the DOTr and the LTFRB are always here to support their movement towards modernization,” added Delgra.

As more modes of transportation are beginning to resume operations under the new normal, the increase in PUVMP subsidy will surely help those that are making the transition towards modern PUVs. This should also attract those that are still using traditional PUJs and have yet to join the PUVMP.