THE House Committee on Transportation will begin its motu proprio investigation this Wednesday on the controversies surrounding the implementation of the public utility vehicle jeepney modernization (PUVMP) initiated by the previous administration, alleged to be plagued by corruption and irregularities.
Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said he is now securing the approval of panel members to proceed with the motu proprio investigation a day after House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez directed his panel to ascertain if allegations of corruption in the PUVMP have basis, citing reports reaching his office.
“We are responding to the directive of the Speaker to investigate these very serious allegations. We will just get the consensus of members of the committee so we can start our hearings by Wednesday,” Acop said.
“We cannot allow corruption to take root in the implementation of the modernization program. If we are to proceed with the modernization of our PUVs, we must make sure there is not even a whiff of irregularity,” he added.
Even without a resolution or a privilege speech calling for such a probe, Acop said they will proceed under Section 2 of the House Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation, which states:
“Section 2. Modes of Initiation. – Inquiries may be initiated through the following modes:
a. motu proprio action of a committee on any matter within its jurisdiction upon a majority vote of all its Members: Provided, That the committee shall first seek authority from the Committee on Rules to proceed with their motu proprio inquiry;”
“So it is clear that under our rules, we can proceed with the investigation. And I believe this a matter that requires our urgent attention. Lalo na’t kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan ang nakasalalay sa epektibong pagpapatupad ng programang ito,” Acop said.
Speaker Romualdez earlier cited reports that existing transport officials are allegedly in cahoots with previous officials in the negotiations for the importation of modern jeepney units to replace old ones.
At the same time, the leader of the 300-plus members of the House of Representatives asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for a complete review and extension of the implementation of the program, which requires jeepney operators and drivers to join or group themselves into transport cooperatives.
Speaker Romualdez said that although the modernization program has his full support, measures should be in place to protect jeepney drivers.
The requirement to join a transport cooperative lapsed in 2023, but extended until the end of this month.
“While we stride towards modernity and efficiency, we remain steadfast in safeguarding the welfare and livelihood of our jeepney drivers, who are an integral part of this journey. Together, we can achieve a transportation system that is reflective of the Philippines’ growth, respecting our traditions while paving the way for a more sustainable future,” Romualdez earlier said.
“As we embrace progress and innovation, it is imperative that we address the need for modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly transport systems. The jeepney modernization program is not just about upgrading vehicles; it’s a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate our urban transportation landscape, making it safer, more reliable, and in tune with sustainable practices,” he added.