The Japanese government under President Shinzo Abe announces it would subsidy $3B (P138B) for the production of new jeepney vehicles in the Philippines.
On Monday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and JICA signed an agreement on behalf of registered jeepney operators. The budget is for the assembly of 8 million new jeepneys to replace the aging transport trademark of the Philippines.
The budget also includes modernization of accredited local jeepney manufacturers like Sarao Motors, Lawin Motors, Francisco Motors, Armak Motors, Malagueña Motors, Berong Motors, Laceta Motors, and six other unnamed jeepney manufacturers in CALABARZON.
In Visayas and Mindanao where jeepney has been phased more than a decade ago and replaced with AUVs, JICA also allotted $36 million for local AUV manufacturers like Celeste and Transcor Motors in Bacolod, and eight other manufacturers in Iloilo, Davao, Cebu, and Cagayan De Oro City.
The agreement said current operators who have more than 15 jeepneys will be allowed only to own a maximum of 12 new units payable within 5 years.
Operators who own 5 to 10 units will be allowed to own the same units, and operators who own under 5 units will be allowed to own a maximum of 5 units.
JICA spokesman Hideko Shibata said they already finished inspecting manufacturing plants of local manufacturers, and only around 30% of the plants will be rehabilitated in six months. Production will start on 2018 and distribution will start on July of the same year.
The loan was approved by the Japanese government after the Duterte administration consulted Japan on how to modernize the Philippine transport system.
According to Atty. Charles Buenaventura of DTI, there is no reason for operators to complain anymore because the 5-year term is more than enough to pay a P780-900 thousand pesos jeepney price.
“Car dealerships allow only a maximum of 3 years car loan, so there is no reason for jeepney operators to fail to pay a jeepney in five years which generates income everyday”, Buenaventura said.
The government and jeepney operators associations like Piston and FEJODAP are expected to meet on March 13 regarding the matter.