The government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, which seeks to replace outdated and unsafe jeepneys with more contemporary, safer, and environmentally friendly PUVs, has the full support of the Automotive Body Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (ABMAP). Ten reasons are listed below on why ABMAP backs this initiative:
1. ABMAP emphasizes that not all modern PUVs are Completely Built-Up (CBU) units from China. In fact, over 80% of the modern PUVs in the Philippines are locally made using brand new truck chassis and are assembled in the country. This helps generate jobs for automotive bodybuilders as well as upstream and downstream industries.
2. The locally manufactured and assembled PUVs are completely brand new, which means they have a longer service life than the old jeepneys. These new PUVs are equipped with air conditioning, allowing passengers to travel in comfort even during hot and humid weather. The standing passengers are also allowed, which creates an opportunity for extra income.
3. The seating is comfortable, as the seat width allocation per passenger is wider, and the distances between seat rows are longer. This means that passengers can travel in comfort even during long journeys.
4. The new PUVs are built to international standards and comply with Bureau of Philippine Standards Philippine National Standards (BPS PNS) standards. This means that the PUVs are safer and more reliable than the old jeepneys. They are equipped with a service door on the curb side, which improves passenger safety.
5. The new PUVs are environmentally friendly as they are powered by either Euro 4 Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) or electric motor. This reduces emissions, making them better for the environment and the health of passengers.
6. The government provides an increased subsidy for PUV modernization. This reduces the financial burden on operators who are struggling to make the transition.
7. The 5-6-7 financing scheme makes the driver the owner of the PUV after seven years of payment. This means that drivers have a stake in the PUVs, which encourages them to take better care of the vehicles.
8. If operated by a transport corporation, drivers are assured of a fixed daily income complete with social benefits like Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth. This ensures that drivers are protected and have access to social welfare benefits.
9. 60% of PUV franchises have already consolidated, which indicates a growing acceptance of the PUV modernization program.
10. The price of the PUVs ranges from P2.1 million to P2.2 million, which is the standard price for a brand new PUV. While some claim they can make it at P1.6 million or lower, they have yet to prove that, and mass produce them as well. In interviews with working modern PUV franchise operators, they indicate that they do make money and can afford amortization.
The PUV Modernization Program is supported by the Automotive Body Manufacturer’s Association of the Philippines (ABMAP) because it boosts the economy, creates jobs, enhances passenger safety and comfort, and lowers emissions. The program makes sure that drivers can afford to buy PUVs and have access to social welfare benefits. The program also helps create jobs for bodybuilders and other businesses because more than 80% of contemporary PUVs in the Philippines are locally produced.