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City rolls out aid packages to jeepney drivers, operators

The city government has already rolled out the social compensation packages to the public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators affected by the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS).

Norman Baloro, HPBS social development officer in charge, said drivers and operators can avail three out of five social compensation packages offered by the city government. Each package offers educational assistance, skills training and cash-for-work aid.

The five packages offered are programs from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Department of Health (DOH).

Under the DOLE program, the driver, operator or their designated beneficiaries can avail the one-month cash-for-work program and get paid at least P11,000. This is on top of the financial assistance that will be given to them.

DTI, on the other hand, is offering livelihood kits worth 10,000 and capacitate individuals to become entrepreneurs.

TESDA offers various skills training, the top priority for which is the NC3 level course for bus driving and other automotive related courses. Those who will be enrolled in TESDA driving class will be a priority in hiring and employing bus drivers for the HPBS.

CHED offers a four-year course education grant of P15,000 per year for four consecutive years for one beneficiary of the driver or operator.

On top of the health assistance that the beneficiary can get from PhilHealth, Lingap, Malasakit Center, DOH will give them an additional P5,000 to P10,000 as medical assistance.

“These packages can be availed by the operators and drivers themselves or their designated and qualified beneficiaries up to the fourth civil degree of relationship,” Baloro said.

These social packages are on top of the fast-approaching implementation of the HPBS. As early as possible, drivers and operators were already given social packages choices for the phasing out of operated PUJs, he said.

The compensation packages are social safety nets, economic assistance and capacity building opportunities available to eligible jeepney operators and drivers depending on the choices they make, whether to participate in the HPBS, or to exit from the public transportation sector, Baloro said.

He, however, clarified that these social compensation packages will be available not just for those drivers and operators who will be affected by the first phase of the implementation of the HPBS (Toril, Catalunan Grande, and Diversion road routes), but to all jeepney drivers and operators in the city as well. Hence, with this, all those affected are encouraged to coordinate with the HPBS Project Office at the 2nd Floor of Pasalubong Center at Palma Gil Street during regular government office hours.

The first phase of the HPBS will be starting soon. The city also allocated P250 million as cash aid for affected drivers and operators.

For the initial phase of HPBS, there will be an estimate of 100 buses to be deployed for Toril, 25 for Catalunan Grande, and 10 for the Diversion Road routes.

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