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    VP Leni: Rushed modernization of Metro Manila’s public transport system burden commuters and transport sector workers

    VP Leni: Rushed modernization of Metro Manila’s public transport system burden commuters and transport sector workers

    The road to better public transportation in Metro Manila might be paved with good intentions but railroading it in the middle of the pandemic could only leave the commuters worse than it was before, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday, February 18.

    In a statement, Robredo said that forcing the consolidation of PUV operators, the use of common terminals, and the mandatory upgrading of fleets of jeepneys should be put on hold.

    “Gusto po natin ang modernisasyon ng ating public transport. Ngunit ayaw naman po natin bigyan ng karagdagang burden ang ating mga pasahero at drivers. Hindi po natin dapat ipilit ang mga polisiyang hilaw at hindi angkop sa konteksto ng pandemya. Ang pangunahing i-focus po natin ngayon ay maibsan ang kahirapan, ma-revive and ekonomiya at ma-control ang pagkalat ng COVID. Ang mga polisiyang hindi angkop at consistent sa objectives na ito ay dapat isang tabi muna,” Robredo said.

    The presidential candidate explained that commuters are burdened by the use of integrated terminals because of health risks and higher fare.

    “May ilang problema po tayong nakikita kung pipilitin natin ang paggamit ng integrated terminals ngayong pandemya. Dagdag gastos sa mga pasahero ang kailangan pang lumipat ulit ng ibang mode of transport para maghahatid sa kanila papuntang Metro Manila,” she said.

    “Napipilitan ang mga pasahero na mag colorum van kasi mas convenient ito at mas mura. Ngunit dahil hindi regulated ang mag colorum van na ito, hindi natin ma-garantiya ang safety ng mga pasahero. Hindi rin po safe ngayong pandemic na pag halu-haluin ang mga pasaherong galing halimbawa sa iba’t ibang lugar sa isang terminal bago pumasok sa Metro Manila. Mas lalo itong makakadagdag sa mabilisang pagkalat ng COVID-19,” Robredo explained.

    Robredo has always been a commuter, taking the bus going home to Naga City in Camarines Sur, even after being elected as Vice President. She had experienced first-hand the challenges to using public transportation.

    While common terminals are seen to provide efficient and convenient transfers, the current setup of these facilities only raised transport costs for commuters, Robredo said. Passengers heading towards destinations in North Luzon would have to pay more to get to San Fernando, Pampanga or Baguio, with additional fares ranging from 22% to 96%.

    Robredo added that the recent transport policies will impact the welfare of public transport workers.

    “At dahil mas pipiliin ng mga pasahero ang mag colorum, mababawasan din po ang kita ng mga manggagawa sa sector ng transportasyon. Kaya po habang may pandemya, ang solusyon ay hayaan munang pumasok ang mga provincial buses sa Metro Manila at gamitin ang kani-kanilang terminal. Bawas gastos po ito sa mga pasahero,” she said.

    Robredo said that like other industries that need support to recover, the public transportation sector also needs sufficient support.

    “Marami pong umaasa ng kabuhayan sa public transport sector. Andyan po ang ating mga drivers, konduktor, mga mekaniko. Napahalaga pong matugunan din natin ang kapakanan nila. Imbis na brasuhin para i-upgrade ang kani-kanilang fleet, bigyan din po sana natin sila ng saklay at alalay. Bahagi po sila ng ating economic frontliners dahil sila ang nagdadala sa ating mga manggagawa sa kanilang trabaho,” Robredo added.

    Robredo also echoed the appeal of the public transport sector for the government to provide support to them by offering subsidies or extending credit lines, given the limitations in the carrying capacity of PUVs. Robredo has been advocating to allow public buses in Metro Manila since she was a congresswoman. [End]

    Posted in Press Releases on Feb 18, 2022