Will Jeepneys Really Be Phased Out by June 2023? The DOTr Sets Things Straight

End of June is a different deadline.

News has been spreading about the supposed complete phaseout of old-style jeepneys by the end of June 2023. There’s even a massive transport strike organized by transport groups next week to counter the move. 

But the Department of Transportation has issued a clarification: jeepneys won’t be phased-out by the middle of the year. June 30 is the deadline for a different issue.


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“We will not implement the phase-out of the old equipment on June 30; that deadline is for the operators to consolidate as cooperatives or corporations,” DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said in an interview on Wednesday (March 1).

This means that, beyond the June 30 deadline, jeepney drivers may still utilize their old vehicles to ply their routes. 

Bautista said that jeepney drivers need to organize themselves as cooperatives or corporations so they could gain access to loans that will be used to acquire more modern vehicles.

“We are not asking them to immediately buy modern equipment,” Bautista said. “What we just wanted to see was they are working to be part of the modernization program.” 

The deadline for consolidation has been moved several times, Bautista said and the June 30 date is the fourth extension so far. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) first issued a timeline for the consolidation of franchises of land transport operators in December 2019. The first deadline was June 2020, but the outbreak of the pandemic forced the government to extend it to December 2020. 


The deadline was then moved to March 2021, and finally, to June 30, 2023. 

The LTFRB said the deadline for provisional authorities (PAs) has been extended until December 31, although Bautista said this could still be extended. 

“We cannot simply stop the operations of the old vehicles if we don’t have an ample supply of modern ones,” the DOTr secretary said. “Our commuters will suffer if we will unilaterally put their operations to a stop. That is why the implementation of the program is in different phases.” 

Transport groups have announced plans for a nationwide transport strike for one week starting March 6 to protest the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.  

“The transport strike is the last resort of drivers and operators affected by the PUV Modernization Program.,” said Primo Morillo, convenor of commuter network The Passenger Forum. “While this means temporary inconvenience for commuters, we support their right to conduct protest actions as the immediate and long-term effects of a haphazard modernization scheme will not be helpful to our aim to make commuting safe, affordable, comfortable, and reliable.”

Bautista said he has extended an invitation to these groups for an urgent meeting to discuss their issues on the program. 

“I have also talked to other organizations of jeepney operators and they were very supportive of the modernization program,” he said. “We are hoping that we could sit down and talk.” 

The modernization program calls for the consolidation of the fleet of transport franchise owners, operators, and drivers, to form a business transport cooperative in different areas that would allow transport cooperatives to broaden their financial capacity to buy newer vehicles units that pass new standards.

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Transport cooperatives are also required to provide drivers with a fixed salary, social security, and health insurance, as they are now considered regular employees. They are also entitled to a loan subsidy of P160,000 per unit vehicle purchased.

The government is also beefing up its subsidy program for the modernization program.  

“We have an existing subsidy, but we do have a limited budget for 2023,” he said, noting that the allocation for this year is about P3 billion.  

The transport chief is hopeful that PUV stakeholders will support the program moving forward.  

“There are areas in the country where they have modern equipment and we are happy that they are supportive of the project,” he said. “But we acknowledge that there are areas that will be hard to implement this program.” 

According to the LTFRB, out of 158,000 units of jeepneys in the Philippines, around 96,000 have already consolidated, which is around 61 percent of the total. Meanwhile, of the 19,000 units of UV Express, 72 percent has already consolidated. 

"So far our target is to implement the consolidation,” Bautista said. “Hopefully, it won’t take three years. However, it’s hard to provide a timeline because there are many different parts to this equation. We really need the support of operators and drivers.”

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