Tree-planting now a requirement for PUV franchise starting December

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 22) — Starting December 1, jeepney operators who wish to renew or apply for a new franchise will have to plant trees first before getting one, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Under its Memorandum Circular 2020-076, the LTFRB said that applicants with at least 10 public utility vehicles (PUVs) who wish to get a new certificate of public convenience will have to plant a tree for each unit that they will apply for.

The memorandum, issued on November 20, also covers transport cooperatives and operators who wish to get an extension of their existing franchise. After three months, the policy will eventually cover all applicants with less than 10 PUVs.

The memorandum takes effect on December 1. Operators are expected to cooperate with corresponding local government units or nearby offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which will determine the location of their tree-planting activity and provide proof of their compliance.

The LTFRB aims to plant some 50,000 trees in the first three months of the implementation of the order.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade first raised the recommendation during the public briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet officials in typhoon-hit Cagayan last Sunday.

READ: Tugade to push for policy requiring franchise, license applicants to plant trees 

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is also planning to plant some 200 million trees in a massive campaign next year as a response to the devastating floods caused by the recent typhoons.

READ: On top of war on illegal logging, gov’t to plant 200 million trees 

The entire Luzon is currently under a state of calamity after the recent typhoons that devastated most parts of the island. Typhoon Quinta left at least 22 dead after exiting the country on October 27. It was followed by Super Typhoon Rolly, dubbed as the strongest typhoon in the world in 2020, which killed 25 after making four landfalls in Southern Luzon early November.

Typhoon Ulysses surpassed these deaths, with at least 73 confirmed fatalities as of Saturday. Relief operations are ongoing in affected areas, most of which are still reeling from the previous typhoons that also caused billions of pesos worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.