Children of jeepney operators, drivers to get educ’l assistance from gov’t

The college education of children of jeepney operators and drivers who will be displaced by phase 1 of the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP) this year will be shouldered by the national government, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte said on Thursday.

Duterte said in a press conference that the Commission on Higher Education had allotted P300 million for this purpose as part of the social packages the city government had proposed.

Aside from the scholarship, she said the Department of Trade and Industry would also provide livelihood kits worth P95 million.

This is on top of the support from Department of Labor and Employment and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, she added.

She said the budget was included in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), approved during the term of former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from whom she had sought help to create the social packages.

The mayor said the local government had prioritized the social packages in light of the implementation of the DPTMP, also known as the High Priority Bus System.

She said drivers and operators could access government assistance provided that their names are in the master list of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office, and City Transport and Traffic Management Office.

She said the city government has lined up orientation schedules for operators and drivers: January 14 in Toril, January 21 in Calinan, January 24 in Bunawan, January 30 in Poblacion.

“Maminaw sila sa lecture on how to access this portions sa ilahang social package, which is i-enroll nila ilang anak sa college and then bayran ang tuitions ilang anak until mahuman ang bata sa 4 years (They should listen to the lecture on how to access portions of their social package, which is enroll their children in college and then pay the tuitions of their children until they finish the four years),” she said.

She said the local government targets to have all the children enlisted by March and get everything ready before the start of the next school year.

The local government will shell out P250 million from its local funds for the initial phase of the project, Duterte announced earlier.

The interim bus system would be implemented by the national government, pending the approval of the DPTMP, at a cost of P18.6 billion.

The DPTMP seeks to improve the mass public transport and to address the worsening traffic congestion in the city.

Following the National Economic Development Authority-Board approval of the project last November 25, the mayor said she expects an expeditious development for this proposed project at the national level. 

In a press release last December 5, the Department of Transportation announced that the bus system is scheduled for implementation from 2020 to 2023, which aims to “provide an efficient and affordable mode of transport for Davaoeños through the delivery” of a modern HPBS.

It added that the interconnected bus services would be prioritized along the 137-kilometer core network, and 489 km of feeder routes.

The proposed project would be funded through an official development assistance, covering three components: Public Transport System Improvement, Institutional Capacity Strengthening, and Social Development Program. 

The press release stated that the HPBS or the project’s public transport system improvement component will involve the provision of hierarchical, interconnected bus services along major arterial roads, as well as an extensive network of feeder services covering the entire urban area.

Once operational, the HPBS will have 29 bus routes divided into the following four tiers: MetroDavao (will form the core services that connect all major commercial centers along the five routes), DavaoInter (will run along with eight routes connecting the inner urban areas directly to the Davao Central Business District), DavaoFeeder (will run along nine routes linking smaller centers and areas of more dispersed populations to the MetroDavao services), and DavaoLocal (will provide a link between the outer rural areas of the City and main transport system or the integrated terminals). [Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews]

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