PUVMP units unaffordable even with gov’t loans — biz groups

THE modernized jeepneys on offer for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) are unaffordable even with the government providing financing for drivers, business groups said in a joint statement.

“It is evident that the principles of ‘just transition’ have not been upheld in the formulation, execution, and oversight of the PUVMP. Critically, jeepney operators and drivers were not consulted about the design of modern jeeps or alternative vehicles,” they said in a statement. 

“There has been no compensation for the surrender of their existing units. Furthermore, imported modern jeepneys, which range from P2.5 million to P3 million… are prohibitively expensive, making ownership unfeasible for many, even with amortization options,” they added.

The business groups, led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for increased government support and a more realistic timetable to facilitate the transition.

“We call for an urgent review of the PUVMP in order to address its legal, financial, and human rights infirmities; a suspension of the deadline for consolidation for an indefinite period of time; and advocate for the creation of an affordable, sustainable, and carbon-neutral mass transport system,” they said.

“The government must also back research and development efforts and provide subsidies to ensure that amortization terms for operators and drivers — including those who have already consolidated and fought for elements of just transition into the PUVMP — are affordable and potentially profitable,” they added.

The statement was also signed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Federation of Free Workers, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. — Justine Irish D. Tabile