THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday said it would enforce the modernization program for Philippine jeepneys, as it starts flagging down illegal public utility vehicles (PUV) starting May 16.

The driver of an unconsolidated jeepney could face a P10,000 fine and his vehicle could be impounded for 30 days, LTFRB Chairman Teofilo E. Guadiz III told GMA News.

The driver may also face a one-year suspension and charged P50,000 to get back his jeepney.

Mr. Guadiz said about 1,900 PUVs did not join the modernization program. But transport group PISTON said about 20,000 entities in the capital region had opted out of the program.

The group said more than 100,000 jeepneys nationwide are in the process of consolidating.

Mr. Guadiz said commuters would not suffer despite fewer jeepneys.

The LTFRB requires consolidated PUVs to put franchise documents on their dashboard or windshield to make it easier for authorities to spot them.

Mr. Guadiz said the agency offers a social support program for jeepney drivers who may lose or have lost their jobs, such as programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Drivers who enroll in a TESDA program will get an allowance for 90 days.

He added that the government is also extending loans to drivers who decide to venture into other businesses.

The LTFRB and Department of Transportation gave PUV drivers and operators a 15-day grace period on April 30 to modernize by joining a cooperative.

Transport groups on Tuesday urged the Philippine Supreme Court to stop the program pending their lawsuit.

Mr. Guadiz said they will respect a temporary restraining order from the tribunal.

The court had ordered the government to comment on the lawsuit filed by several transport groups by May 24, SC spokesperson Camille Sue Mae L. Ting said in a Viber message on Tuesday.

The tribunal wants to know about the status of the consolidation, the new route plans and hearings at the House of Representatives. — Chloe Mari A. Hufana