Senator Nancy Binay on Friday, October 2, criticized the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for being oblivious as to how many jeepney drivers and operators would be affected by the rationalization of public transport routes.
Because of LTFRB’s failure to come up with a rationalization plan, Binay lamented many jeepney drivers and operators have been facing uncertainty especially during this time of a COVID-19 crisis.
“Unacceptable na hindi ninyo alam kung ilan sa mga jeepney drivers ang hindi na makakabalik. Hindi po ba dapat, alam n’yo kung ilan ang mga kasamahan natin, ilang jeepney drivers na kababayan natin ang hindi na talaga makakabalik at makakapasada? (It’s unacceptable that you do not know how many jeepney drivers won’t be able to come back. Shouldn’t the agency know how many of our jeepney drivers won’t be able to go back to work?),” Binay told LTFRB chief Martin Delgra during the Senate deliberation on the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) 2021 budget.
Delgra told the Senate Finance sub-committee panel that 21,880 units of around 50,000 traditional jeepneys in Metro Manila have already been allowed to run since the easing of restrictions, along with 900-plus modern jeepneys.
But Binay noted the snail’s pace by which the LTFRB is conducting its business, considering that the route rationalization started in 2017 alongside the jeepney modernization program.
“Paano po natin ngayon ipa-pursue ang modernization program kung hindi pa tapos itong (How can we pursue the jeepney modernization program if we’re not through with the) route rationalization?” she pointed out.
Binay also said that it has been almost seven months and yet many traditional jeepneys are still not allowed to ply their usual routes.
The senator said it is necessary for LTFRB to provide lawmakers with the data in order for the Senate to be able to craft a legislation aimed at helping those affected by the route rationalization plan, along with other Filipinos who have been displaced by the pandemic.
Binay also questioned the LTFRB about its plans for bus conductors who would potentially lose their jobs as bus companies shift to the use of Beep cards to ensure contactless payment.
The DOTr, however, assured that buses plying the roads would still employ conductors despite the use of Beep cards.
The agency also said that conductors would also be given an option to take on administrative jobs that would be offered by their respective bus company.