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TRO vs PUVMP urged anew as 'grace period' for unconsolidated PUVs nears end

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups on Tuesday once again asked the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) ahead of the "grace period" deadline for unconsolidated PUVs.

Transport groups PISTON and MANIBELA, who are assailing the constitutionality of the PUVMP since late 2023, said that the jobs and livelihoods of public transport workers would be jeopardized once authorities start apprehending unconsolidated jeepney drivers.

"Nandito tayo ngayon para kalampagin at ipanawagan sa Korte Suprema ang paglalabas ng TRO…Upang makabalik tayo sa ating hanapbuhay," MANIBELA President Mar Valbuena said.

(We are here today to demand and call upon the Supreme Court to issue a TRO… So that we can return to our livelihoods.)

"The Supreme Court must act swiftly to prevent the Marcos government from exacerbating joblessness in the country. Even if a TRO is approved months or years from now, it will not undo the damage caused by the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and LTFRB's (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) actions in the coming days," PISTON also said in a separate statement.

Following the consolidation deadline last April 30, the DoTr through the LTFRB gave a 15-day leeway to unconsolidated jeepney drivers to ply their routes without penalty.

This grace period will end on May 15. After the last day, authorities will start to apprehend unconsolidated PUVs. The DoTr has yet to release guidelines on the apprehension of unconsolidated jeepney drivers.

LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III on April 29 said that consolidated jeepney drivers can be easily recognized compared with the unconsolidated drivers due to a "mark" by the LTFRB in their windshields.

"Madali makita kung sino yung colorum, lahat po ng consolidate mayroong nakapaskil sa harapan ng wind shield nila na tatak po ng LTFRB na consolidated sila," Guadiz said in an interview with SuperRadyo DZBB.

(It is easy to identify who the colorum are; all consolidated vehicles have a mark from the LTFRB displayed on the front windshield indicating that they are consolidated.)

 LTFRB spokesperson Celine Pialago has yet