PUBLIC transport groups in Panay and Guimaras came out with a position paper proposing the replacement of engines of old public utility jeepneys (PUJ) instead of a phaseout.
The alternative is in response to the modernization program of the government for PUJs 15 years old and above.
The groups proposed that instead of the phaseout, diesel engines would be replaced with Euro4 engines in order to address air pollution.
“We call for the scrapping of PUJ phase-out and adopt the alternative of rehabilitation that will be possible only through a government-sponsored purchase and distribution of affordable Euro4 engines,” the letter stated.
The groups added that the proposal would also benefit small auto supply businesses and local jeepney body-builders.
The group behind the position letter is the Panay and Guimaras Alliance of Transport and Rehabilitation (PATH-Rehab) which has six convenors:
-Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Owners and Drivers Association (ICLAJODA)
-Confederation of Iloilo Provincial Jeepney Owners and Drivers Association (CIPJODA)
-Iloilo City Alliance of Jeepney Owners and Drivers’ Association (ICAJODA)
-Iloilo City Alliance of Drivers’ Associations (ICADA)
-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON-Panay)
-a transport association in Guimaras.
The paper sent on June 14, 2018, to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and local government units in the city and province of Iloilo.
Edgar Salarda, Piston-Panay coordinator, said engine replacement would cost less compared to purchasing of new PUJ units.
He said a PUJ unit will cost more or less P1.7 million while engine replacement would only cost them P250,000 to P300,000.
He said the engine brand is already compliant to the standard set by the government.
“Daw mas mamag-an ini ya kaysa sa magbakal ka gid bag-o nga unit,” he said.
But Salarda stressed that they still oppose the PUJ phaseout as it will burden the operators, drivers, and commuters as jeepney fares could increase to P20 if the government pushes through with the modernization program.
The position letter also called for the scrapping of the oil deregulation law and the tax reform law.
Meanwhile, ICLAJODA assistant secretary Dan Purzuelo said they filed a petition for a five-year transition period so they can adjust to the modernization program.
“Operators should be given time to save so they could purchase a new engine,” Purzuelo said.
He also reported that three of their 1,500 member-operators have already sold their old units as they do not want to submit to the modernization program.