Subsidy for Philippine Public Transport Pushed

Lone District of Iligan City
Chair, Committee on Civil Service & Professional Regulation
Member, Committee on Transportation Twitter: @freddiesiao 0917-729-2437


I welcome the June 5, 2020 decision of the DOTr (Department Order 2020-006) to increase the government’s equity subsidy in modernized vehicles to P160,000 from the previous rate of P80,000.

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The same DO 2020-006 states the price range of modernized vehicles is from P1.6 million to P2.4 million.

But even with that P160,000 subsidy, the remaining P1.44 million would still be prohibitive to most individual PUJ operators or sole proprietors.

It would be affordable though if PUJ operators come together in cooperatives, corporations, partnerships, or joint ventures because these other forms of business organizations can put together more capital, apply for grants and concessional loans, get NGO support, and avail of foreign aid, so they can afford to acquire what the DOTr refers to as modern jeepneys.

To survive the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive in the new normal, PUJ operators and drivers must unite through cooperatives. Economies of scale will protect drivers and operators from economic adversities.

Right now, the DBP and Land Bank are the only financial conduits supporting transport cooperatives.


I ask the DOTr, DOF, and DTI to expand the financing options of the transport coops so it would be easier for them to start acquiring modern units or expand their fleet.

More banks and financial institutions should participate in the PUV modernization program. DBP and Land Bank are not enough. Lending cooperatives and cooperative banks should also participate.

I also ask the DOLE to make sure all transport coops comply with our labor laws on minimum wages and mandatory benefits like PhilHealth, SSS, and PAG-IBIG.

The PSA should also make sure all transport coop members are registered into the National ID System.

DOTr must also make sure the LTO, LTFRB, and Office of Transport Cooperatives comply with the Ease of Doing Business Law, so it would be much easier for transport operators to register and renew.


Most jeepney operators are sole proprietors. The business model they know is that of a sole proprietorship. The PUJ operators are aware of the other models: partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives. Starting sole proprietorships is easier than the other forms of enterprises.

However, all these other models are uncomfortable to the PUJ operators because they lose their freedom to run their business on their own, because they have to share profits, duties, and responsibilities. Sole proprietors are independents. This mindset is basically why most enterprises in our country are sole proprietorships and why there are relatively much fewer corporations, partnerships, and cooperatives.

The cooperative form was adopted by some transport groups, but after decades of government promoting cooperativism, there are only 1,205 transport cooperatives, inclusive of PUJs, taxis, UV express units, tourist vans, and buses. Only 196 of these transport coops are in NCR.


Nakikita natin ang halaga ng pag-operate ng mga tinatawag ng DOTr na "modern jeepney". Moderno nga naman talaga dahil bukod sa bago ang mga unit, mayroon pang contactless payment at wifi.

Ngunit malayung-malayo ang hitsura o porma nito sa jeepneys na bahagi na ng tatak Pilipino. Huwag na lang kasi nating tawaging jeepney kasi wala itong kaugnayan sa kasaysayan ng jeepney na nagmula sa post-war Philippines.

Bagaman hango sa disenyo ng US military jeep ang karamihan ng mga jeepney, mapapansin din na marami-rami rin sa pumapasada ay mga asian utility vehicle ang disenyo.

Sundin na lang sana ng DOTr ang bansag na minibus para sa international classification ng mga modernong jeepney dahil iyan naman talaga sila, minibus.

Sa kasaysayang pang-transportasyon ng ating bansa, dati nang kasama dyan ang minibus. Halimbawa’y may ilang minibus na pumapasada sa Cavite.

We have here an important branding issue. The adoption of the modern jeepney has been slow, not just because PUJ groups are resisting, but because the image and feel of the modern jeepneys are not that of "jeepneys." They are in fact, "minibuses." They are different creatures altogether. (END)

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