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HPBS: City offers social packages to 18,000 drivers, operators

The city government is offering social packages to some 18,000 drivers and operators who will be affected by the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS).

“We should really prioritize these drivers and operators who will be affected by our modernization program, that’s why we have prepared these social packages for them to avail,” Norman Baloro, HPBS social development committee, said during yesterday’s City Hall-organized iSpeak media forum.

Baloro said the regional office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recorded 6,989 operators while the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) recorded 12,264 public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers to benefit from the social packages prepared by the city government.

He said that the process should be fast-tracked as the implementation of the HPBS will start this year.

“The implementation of HPBS will really take off this 2020,” Baloro said. “We have to make sure that the social preparations should commence in a very effective way.”

Consultation dialogues and seminars were conducted by the city government to remind these PUJ drivers and operators that “PUJs will really be phased out and be replaced with 1,000 buses.”

The consultations, which started on Jan. 14 at Toril, also tackled social services that would entice these affected drivers and operators, and informed them about alternative incentives aside from cash assistance.

The next consultation is set on Jan. 21 in Calinan with more than 1,200 expected participants.

Further consultations are set on Jan. 24 in Bunawan and on Jan. 31 in SIR Matina.

Baloro said jeepney drivers plying various routes can attend any of the scheduled dialogues.

“What we are doing during the consultation dialogues is offer the menu of services,” he said.

Baloro said the social packages are sourced from the national government agencies, such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in which they provide opportunities and provisions to the affected drivers and operators.

He said there are “social development packages earned by the mayor from our national government agencies.”

Baloro said DOLE is offering jobs in which interested applicants may earn P11,880 per month. He also said that DOLE allotted P100 million for the said project.

DTI also offers technical assistance and training for those who are interested in entrepreneurship management. It will be providing livelihood kits for the drivers and operators.

CHED has also allotted P300 million for family members who will be availing free tuition for a four-year college course. Baloro said a driver’s wife or child can avail of this incentive.

TESDA will also be offering the NC3 training for bus drivers who will be driving the HPBS.

“It doesn’t mean that if we deploy 1,000 buses, we will also be deploying 1,000 bus drivers only, as there will be shifting for each HPBS driver,” he said.

“Expect 10,000 jobs (that) we can offer,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are some cases that needed to be further studied such as those drivers who were not able to acquire identification cards (ID) from the CTTMO but are driving.

There are also public utility vehicles with several proxy drivers.

“We are processing the implementation rules and regulations (IRR) already so that we can come up with a city ordinance. That’s why we are studying some of these cases to finalize everything,” he said.

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