‘OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY’: City gov’t eager to implement transport plan

The Iloilo City government will push through with the enforcement of the Local Public Transport Route Plan, which will prohibit some provincial jeeps from the city streets, despite calls from various transport groups. (F.A. Angelo photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City officials on Monday expressed readiness and eagerness to implement the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) on June 13, 2022 despite transport cooperatives based in Iloilo province saying that they will feel a painful pinch.

Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) chief Jeck Conlu told Daily Guardian that they have been preparing for the full roll-out of the LPTRP implementation next week.

Conlu said that they could not postpone the implementation because according to him, the problems would be the same even if they move it to July.

This was in response to the letter by the Metro Iloilo Transport Service Cooperative (MITSCOOP) to the city government seeking the postponement of the implementation.

He likewise confirmed that provincial-based jeepneys will no longer be allowed to enter the city, and that PSTMO enforcers will be stationed at entry points to monitor and observe.

“We are on track for the June 12 implementation [of the LPTRP]. As to [MITSCOOP’s letter], we couldn’t postpone, because if we do, the problems we will face in postponing and implementing it [in July], would be the same problem. We are already going back to normal, so if we cannot address this now, we will face even bigger problems in the future,” Conlu said.

“Other transport cooperatives are ready. There will be problems in actual implementation, that is why we need to implement it. The national government mandates that upon us, and from there we can do the assessment and make recommendations as to whether or not we will continue or backtrack a bit to reassess the plan,” he added.

Mayor Jerry Treñas said in his press conference that he “already really wants” to implement the LPTRP to see what would the good points and problems which may arise from its implementation.

“If I were to be asked, I think we should just proceed with implementation and see if there are problems because if there are really problems, then we can immediately resolve them. If the problems are to the extent that we cannot resolve them, then we suspend. We will never know until we implement it,” Treñas said.


An Iloilo province-based transport cooperative also told Daily Guardian that the implementation will be very difficult not only for their organizations but mostly for their drivers, operators, and passengers alike.

Both MITSCOOP and the Province of Iloilo Transport Service Cooperative (PITRANSCO) admitted in separate interviews that they would not be ready for the implementation.

MITSCOOP chairperson Jose Marie Delos Reyes said that their request to suspend was based on the current situation at the terminals, including those in Mohon in Arevalo, Hibao-an in Mandurriao, and Ticud in La Paz, which they currently service.

Delos Reyes said more than 200 jeepneys within and outside their cooperative from the “first towns” (Leganes, Oton, Pavia, and San Miguel towns), and between 18,000 to 20,000 passengers, mostly workers and students, would be affected by the LPTRP implementation.

Their city loop jeepneys may also become affected, as the number of those jeepneys are either lower or nearly the same as the “first towns” jeepneys.

He likewise pointed out the untimeliness of the implementation given the big oil price hike which would be effective today, June 7.

“Our concern is that commuters would be affected. Passengers may cramp the terminals and be stranded. Secondly, terminals especially Mohon, Hibao-an, and La Paz may not meet LTFRB requirements. Hopefully, before they implement the LPTRP, they have to look at the current situation in our terminals,” De Los Reyes said.

“You can only imagine the volume of units going into the city from the ‘first towns’, that is also the number of units within the city loop catering to them. That is why passengers may be greatly affected. [Our drivers] will also be affected because for some of them, they will have shorter routes, and be cut at the perimeter boundary terminals, so their income will be greatly reduced,” he added.

PITRANSCO vice-chairperson Monica Acha said that they are set to encounter problems with only two associations composed of 100 units set to serve only one route in the town.

Acha said their intention now is to block jeepneys from neighboring Sta. Barbara town from picking up passengers at the terminal.

“We are seeking the help of LGU Pavia. It seems that it will happen [Iloilo City LPTRP implementation], the program of the government which cannot be stopped, [we wish that] the Sta. Barbara [jeepneys] would not pick up passengers in Pavia. They can unload, but hopefully they wouldn’t join us in picking up passengers. The Pavia jeepneys at this point should just be for Pavianhons,” Acha said.

“Our desire at this time is that the LPTRP should not be implemented at this time and be postponed for the meantime. We are still under the pandemic, and we are currently face fuel price hikes. Life is still difficult at this moment, and we are now facing this. We hope that they postpone it so that we can adjust and plan accordingly on what can be done for displaced drivers and operators,” she added.


Conlu likewise clarified that the proposed ordinance penalizing cyclists who take up the middle of the roads instead of the designated bike lanes were aimed at “exhibitionists” who may sometimes obstruct traffic.

The PSTMO got some flak from the local cycling community on social media after proposing the ordinance which would seemingly punish bikers who stayed out of the bike lanes.

He explained on Monday that this was a mere proposal which stemmed particularly from motorist complaints over “kamote” riders in the Fort San Pedro area.

“Kamote riders”, in biker parlance, refers to motorcyclists who violate road rules or figure into avoidable accidents. It also refers to cyclists who perform daring exhibitions on their bikes while traversing roads.

“There were motorists who have been sending complaints because there were portions of roads which were being used for drag racing of bikes. At first, we have reprimanded them to stay within the inner roads, but recently pictures and videos were sent to us showing some violations,” Conlu said.

He added that their office will seek consultation with organized cycling groups in Iloilo City to come up with solutions to this concern.

Further proposals to improve cycling experience in Iloilo City will also come from the biking community, he said.

“We have vast cooperation and coordination with the biking community, so these [bikers] maybe just need to be educated, that is why we have to contact organized biking clubs to help educate them. For us, the issue is [bikers’] safety. It’s not that we don’t want them there, our concern is that [exhibitionism] would be dangerous to both motorists and cyclists,” he said.

Conlu also said that they would improve their citations of motorists who park on and use the bike lanes, as well as to push for adding protection to the bike lanes.

He cited the Department of Public Works and Highways’ master plan for Iloilo City which includes additional networks to the existing bike lane network.

He also mentioned the ongoing city-wide Bike Count in partnership with cycling organizations and biker volunteers which would help the city craft better infrastructure, regulations, and protections.