Isuzu Philippines, in cooperation with Isuzu Inteco Quezon Avenue, turned over new units of the Modern Jeepney to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, in a symbolic meet-up caravan that concluded near the area of the Welcome Rotonda.
Together with officials of LANDBANK, LTFRB, MMDA and LTO, the turnover was celebrated as a symbolic gesture of acceptance of the jeepney groups, namely PASANG MASDA. This is a landmark decision as jeepney drivers and operators have voiced their resistance to the modernization program for the past years.
With the cooperation of the leadership of the two prime cities, the operation of the new jeepneys will now be easier. Transport groups and coops have also signalled their intention to actively pursue the use of the units for their members.
As a show of support, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member Aileen Lizada, PASANG MASDA head Roberto “Obet” Martin and other officials rode the Isuzu Modern Jeepney to Quezon City from Manila City Hall. The Mayor was all smiles after disembarking, signalling his approval. Also present and giving full support was Hajime Koso, President/CEO at Isuzu Philippines Corp.
Easier guidelines for drivers, operators
A press conference was held in a restaurant near Welcome Rotonda after the parade. Officials, led by MMDA’s Gen. Danilo Lim, QC Counsellor, Oliver Belmonte, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra, PASANG MASDA’s Obet Martin and other speakers reiterated their support for the government’s jeepney modernization program. Obet Martin said that to defray the cost of the jeepney, a cooperative will be established for drivers. Acting like a corporation, the drivers will now have standard pay as opposed to the boundary system. LandBank Rolando said that the lending institution will offer easier rates for the coops, and to address the parking problem, Counsellor Belmonte said that the counsellors league will talk to mall owners to arrange for night parking for the jeepneys. Eudoó Technologies stated that payment is now easier and hassle-free with BEEP® payment system.
In a separate interview, Joseph T. Bautista, Isuzu Philippines’ division manager for marketing, said that operators and drivers have a distinct advantage when they use the Isuzu modern jeepney. Aside from the 5-year warranty shared with other Isuzu units, they will enjoy the reliability and quality that Isuzu has been known for. With normal operation, Bautista assures that , except for scheduled maintenance, no major repair are expected for 5-6 years. They will also offer free proper training for maintenance and operation for both driver and operator. The best part here, adds Bautista, is the engines are brand new, EURO4 rated, for cleaner emissions.
The Jeepney Modernization Program is off to a good start. With the cooperation of the manufacturers like ISUZU, government and operators, the future of the jeepney is clear, without pollution of politics.
Images/Text by Earl Manalansan