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DOTr: PISTON was consulted on PUVMP

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has stressed that consultations were conducted with the militant transport group PISTON on the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Commuter Affairs Elvira Medina said Tuesday she spoke with PISTON National President George San Mateo and several of his members when they staged a protest in front of the former DOTr Central Office in Mandaluyong last June.

The DOTr official said she had explained to PISTON that the PUVMP aims to provide safety and convenience to the riding public by modernizing the design of public utility jeepneys (PUJs).

“Kailangang isaayos na ang jeepney upang ito ay umayon sa alituntuning pangkaligtasan ng mga mamamayang nagpapagulong ng ekonomiya ng bansa -- ang commuters (We need to modernize our jeepneys to comply with the safety guidelines for the commuters, the main drivers of our economy),” Medina said in a statement.

As early as December last year, officials of the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have conducted dialogues with various transport groups nationwide to discuss the modernization program.

The transportation department reiterated that it would continue to pursue the PUVMP despite protests from certain sectors of society.

“Now that we have the momentum and the support of the public and the President, we want to fast-track and gradually implement the program. We have planned, prepared, and it is now ready for implementation so that the program will be rolling out within this administration’s term, addressing all issues, such as route rationalization and PUV manufacturing,” the DOTr said.

“We remain firm and unflinching as we are guided by President Duterte’s marching order, which is to provide millions of Filipinos a safe, convenient, and environment-friendly PUV commuting experience. The PUV Modernization Program will happen. You only have two options: cooperate and benefit from the program or oppose and be left behind,” it added.

Aerol John Pateña / PNA