DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A city councilor here said on Thursday that he is not in favor of the Department of Transportation’s planned public utility jeepney modernization project.
Conrado Baluran, chairman of the Council committee on public transportation noted that the government would have to think of the over 8,000 registered public utility units in the city if the program would push through.
“Daghan man dili muuyon niana kay medyo 8,000 PUJ units diri sa Dabaw, ang pangutana asa na ibutang na sila kung atong ituloy na (There are many of us who do not agree with that because in Davao there are almost 8,000 [public utility jeepneys]. Where would you put them if we go with the project)?” Baluran said in a radio interview.
The controversial modernization policy, which includes replacing the traditional jeepney with modern vehicles equipped with either Euro 4 compliant or electric engines has caused transport groups in the country to conduct protests and strikes.
The transport groups said drivers would never be able to afford the vehicles even with government incentives and loan programs. According to their estimates, each vehicle would cost up to P 1.6 million.
The councilor also criticized the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board’s decision to ban drivers from attaching route signboards to their windshields, as part of their implementation of the Anti Distracted Driving Law.
He said the policy sowed confusion among the riding public, who now have trouble getting to their destinations.
Baluran cited the story of one constituent who spent hours trying to go to Uyanguren on Monday after hailing jeepneys who plied similarly named, but slightly different routes.
Baluran also questioned why the LTFRB chose to include the policy in the law’s implementing rules and regulations, which initially only banned drivers from using handheld gadgets while on the road.
Baluran said the policy was an “overreaction” on the part of the LTFRB, and invited representatives of the the Land Transportation Office, the LTFRB, and jeepney operators and drivers to discuss the policy in a committee hearing on Friday.
“Kung duna may balaod nga existing nga wala naimplement nila nga ilang gi-apil aning ADDA, atong istoryahan dili kay pakalitan ning atong mga pasahero (If there are existing policies that were not implemented, but were included in the ADDA, let’s discuss it, instead of taking our commuters by surprise),” he added. (davaotoday.com)