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LTFRB considering granting five-year franchise to jeepney operators

MANILA, Philippines — Reinstated Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said that public utility vehicles will be given enough time to consolidate into cooperatives or corporations.

This is a response to the demands of PISTON which is holding a three-day transport strike starting Monday as a protest to the consolidation deadline on December 31. The group fears that this move will end the livelihood of operators and PUV drivers. 

“Ang konsepto kasi kapag ikaw ay magmo-modernize ay hindi pwedeng pa-isa-isa, pa-tingi-tingi. Hindi uusad ang pagmo-modernize ninyo 'pag paisa-isa lang po. Kaya lang, binibigyan namin sila ng napaka-habang panahon, at least mga three years,” Guadiz said in a press conference on Monday.

(The concept is that when you modernize, it can't be done individually, in bits and pieces. Your modernization won't progress if you do it one at a time. However, we are giving them a very long time, at least around three years.)

Guadiz further emphasized that immediate consolidation is not necessary to complete the process on the day of the deadline.

“...By the mere filing, puwede ka na ma-consider as consolidated,” the LTFRB chief said. (By the mere filing, you can be considered consolidated) 

He also said that as part of their negotiation with transport groups, LTFRB may grant a five-year provisional authority to franchises as long as they join the modernization program. 

“Sa ngayon po kasi binibigyan lang namin sila ng provisional authority na one year para i-timing po natin sa modernization program. But the moment na sumama sila sa modernization program, puwede naman naming ibigay yung five years,” he said.

(As of now, we're only giving them a one-year provisional authority to time it with the modernization program. But the moment that they join the modernization program, we can provide them with a five-year authority.)

The LTFRB chief also said that drivers and operators who will join the transport strike will not be penalized contrary to his pronouncement on November 16 when he said that joining the strike could lead to the suspension or revocation of their franchises.

In a press conference last week, Guadiz