Senators grill DOTr for 'hodgepodge' jeepney modernization target plan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2019 03:27 PM

Commuters are stranded along the Commonwealth Avenue during the nationwide Jeepney Transport Strike in Quezon City on September 30, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Senator Franklin Drilon on Thursday said he was “disappointed” with the jeepney modernization plan laid out by the Department of Transportation, after officials said it could extend to 3 more years. 

Some 170,000 existing jeepneys will be replaced but only 575 units have been provided through loans worth P1 billion, while 1,238 units are in the pipeline with a financing fund estimated to be worth P2.4 billion, the DOTr said. 

In a Senate Committee on Finance hearing on DOTr's 2020 budget, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department was open to go "beyond the term of President Duterte” if there is a need to extend the program. 

Drilon, however, reminded transport officials of its initial plan of modernizing jeepneys by 2020.

“For such a major project, this is such a hodgepodge planning. I am very disappointed secretary. You do not have a specific target, or work toward that specific target. We initially thought that 3 years completion, will end next year," Drilon said. 

"Right now you have only achieved 2 percent. Now you are saying 3 years will start next year and therefore until 2023,” he added.

Under the proposed budget, there is also no allocation for an extended program, Senator Nancy Binay said.

Tugade said the department would appeal for additional budget. 

The DOTR committed to submit an updated schedule for the jeepney modernization program. 

Transport groups, meanwhile, continue to oppose the jeepney modernization program, asserting that drivers cannot afford new models worth P2.5 million. 

-- With a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News