Senator Grace Poe announced that the Senate public services committee hearing on the jeepney modernization program —supposed to take place on Thursday— has been moved to December 11.
In an interview, the Senator explained: “Nakiusap si Secretary Tugade kung pwede i-urong ang hearing sa Lunes … Ako na mismo ang nagdesisyon at aapela ako sa PISTON at sa ibang mga grupo na sa tingin ko ang layunin nila ay makaharap mismo si Secretary Tugade,” as per a news story by GMA News.
[Secretary Tugade asked if we could postpone the hearing on Monday. I myself made the decision and I will appeal to PISTON and to the other groups whom I think want to personally meet with Secretary Tugade.]
The Senator further explained that the Secretary will be available on Monday, December 11; and so the public hearing will push through, with the public utility jeepney drivers present.
The Senate hearing which will tackle the concerns of jeepney drivers was scheduled by the committee after a nationwide transport strike was supposed to be held on December 4 – 5.
Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) and No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition heeded the call of Senator Poe to “reconsider” their course of action, and so the nationwide strike was cancelled (although in some parts of the Bicol region, the transport strike pushed through).
The Department of Transportation, headed by Secretary Arthur Tugade explained: “One of the components of the program is fleet consolidation. The number of units will be determined by the Local Public Transport Route Plan, which is an integral part of the route rationalization program, that will identify the approved routes nationwide.”
“The number of units, as well as the maximum number of operators, shall depend on the demand of the approved route. PUVs that are 15 years and older will be phased out and replaced with environment friendly and fuel-efficient units,” it further explained.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has said earlier that the prototypes of the modern jeepney which has an exit door on the side of the vehicle and bigger body to accommodate more passengers will be pilot-tested in January 2018.