THE TRANSPORTATION department said it will continue to push for funding for its public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) in 2023.
The department had proposed a P788-million budget for the program for next year, but it was not included in the national expenditure program.
“We continue to advocate funding for the PUVMP to our lawmakers… so that the program could be given funding during the deliberations,” Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven C. Pastor said in Filipino at a briefing on Wednesday.
The PUVMP was a flagship program of the previous administration. It envisions a “restructured, modern, well-managed and environmentally sustainable transport sector where drivers and operators have stable, sufficient and dignified livelihoods while commuters get to their destinations quickly, safely and comfortably,” the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said on its website.
Even without the PUVMP allocation, Secretary Jaime J. Bautista welcomed the final approval of the 2023 budget of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and its attached agencies, amounting to P167.12 billion.
He said the House’s approval of the DoTr’s 2023 budget “highlights the need to provide Filipinos with safe, accessible, comfortable, and affordable transportation, as well as transform the country’s transportation system into global standards and fulfill the ‘full speed ahead’ order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.”
Meanwhile, state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has launched its mobile transit application for cashless and contactless payment in public utility vehicles, it said in a press release on Thursday.
The application can be used in transport units with an Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) and the EMV standard which uses smart chips for transactions.
“The LANDBANK mCommuter app supports the government’s transport modernization agenda, geared towards enhancing the daily travel experience of commuters,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying.
“This is part of our continued efforts to leverage digital technology to serve commuter needs.”
The LANDBANK and the DoTr launched the first six units of modern public utiltiy vehicles with AFCS capabilities this month. These were owned by the PM Jeepney Drivers Operators and Services, Inc.
Another 144 units will soon be deployed in selected pilot sites in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Metro Cebu.
The application has been available for download in Google Play Store since Sept. 13, while it is yet to be released in the Apple App Store. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Diego Gabriel C. Robles