THE GOOD NEWS: RP EXPORTS JEEPNEYS

MANILA, March 1, 2004
(STAR) The Philippines has formalized the sale of around 4,000 jeepney units to Papua New Guinea, with Guam, India and Vietnam as the next export targets.

Initially, some 1,000 units would have been sent by February, according to Manila Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association chairman Orlando F. Marquez, Sr. "The rest would be sent within this year, for a total export value of P2.6 billion," he said.

Among the Papua New Guinea officials, who had visited Manila for discussion on the export plan, were Transport Minister Don Pombpoyle, National Land Transportation Board chairman David Opa, National Road Safety Council executive director Robert John Siola, and Land Transportation Division first assistant secretary Ayabian Amm Bannah.

Pombpoyle expressed strong interest in pursuing the jeepney export and the construction of an assembly plant in Papua New Guinea later on, to be run by Filipinos.

He said that Philippine jeepneys would best fit their public transport system given their affordability.

"They are very good and easy to run. The Filipino jeepney is much more cheaper," Pombpoyle said.

Marquez said that jeepney manufacturers have stepped up their marketing activities, thrilled by the prospect of doing business not only locally but internationally as well.

Papua New Guinea roads are currently dominated by 26-seater buses that cost around P2 million each, compared with jeepneys that each cost only P450,000 to P600,000.

"While our market is only small, the cost of transportation has cost our travelers a lot of money. We want to improve this," Pombpoyle said.

Philippine Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Bien Tejano said jeepneys were chosen because of their durability, convenience and affordability.

New jeepney designs would be promoted by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to manufacturers for future production.

The DOTC said that it would assist jeepney manufacturers in exporting to Papua New Guinea.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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