LTFRB: Transport coops free to decide which modern jeepneys to buy

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair Teofilo Guadiz III has clarified that transport cooperatives are free to decide which modern jeepneys to buy for the public utility vehicle modernization program, and the government has no say on the matter.

His statement on the matter in response to criticisms that the country is importing these vehicles from China. “They can buy locally-made, from Japan, or China, or any other country. Only the cooperatives can decide on that, and not the government,” Guadiz said in a statement.

The government’s role, he pointed out, is limited to the creation and enforcement of the Philippine National Standard (PNS) that dictates the features and specifications that manufacturers must follow before they are approved to sell these as modern jeepneys, adding that “the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has a list of those who have complied with the PNS.”

“Its up to them which one they’ll choose. To date, there are 32 models of modern jeepneys currently used nationwide that are either locally manufactured or locally assembled,” he stressed. In a separate statement, DTI Undersecretary Timothy John Batan invited more local manufacturers to make modern jeepneys based on the PNS.

“If these local manufacturers have cheaper prices, we believe it won’t be hard for them to be chosen. But this is for the operators to decide),” Batan said, noting that the PNS aims to encourage the local manufacture of modern jeepneys as it contains clear guidelines that manufacturers must follow.

“It’s easier for our local manufacturers to create models that comply with the requirements of our modernization program),” Batan said. Earlier, Senator Raffy Tulfo criticized the government fror suggesting the importation of modern jeepney units from China. He said local manufacturers are  capable of producing similar vehicles at a lower cost.

Tulfo said the modern jeepneys from China are priced around P2.6 million to P2.9 million per unit while local manufacturers like Sarao and Francisco Motors make jeepneys for only about P900,000 to P985,000.