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'Massacre of livelihood': Impounding, P50K fine on unconsolidated jeeps begin

MANILA, Philippines — The government had started impounding traditional jeepney units this Thursday as it continues implementing the controversial Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), leaving some passengers stranded.

This is after the expiration of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's  (LTFRB) 15-day leeway for thousaands of unconsolidated jeepneys, all of which are now considered "colorum" by the state.

"Authorities will check the serial number on the document issued by the LTFRB displayed on their jeepneys during the operations that started on May 16," said the LTFRB in a statement today.

They also reminded drivers and operators to displaay their franchise documents on their dashboard or windshields to void apprehension.

The government earlier gave jeepney and UV Express units only until April 30 to consolidate into cooperatives and corporations under the PUVMP. Those who would fail to do so would no longer be allowed to operate their routes.

Said jeepney drivers and operators should however start transitioning their old units into Euro-4 or electric engines three years after the consolidation deadline. However, many couldn't afford modern PUVs which could cost up to P2.8 million each.

Unconsolidated units that would be apprehended by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) starting today may result in:

While the LTO, MMDA and PNP have started the apprehension of "colorum" vehicles, the LTFRB to this day still cannot give the media the final number of consolidated and unconsolidated units as of April 30.

Progressive transport group PISTON likewise condemned the government's insistence on the much assailed PUVMP and eventual jeepney phaseout, calling it a "deliberate massacre of transport workers' livelihoods and an attack on the people's right to accessible and affordable public transport."

"Even two weeks after the April 30 deadline, the Marcos government has yet to lay out concrete plans for supporting and sustaining the livelihoods of PUV drivers and operators who fail and refuse to consolidate their franchises," said PISTON.