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Davao City, Philippines

Sara assures social compensation package for drivers affected by new bus system

January 13, 2020 - Monday 6:01 PM by Lovely Carillo

Article Banner Image TRAFFIC RELIEF. The full implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) is expected to provide relief to thousands of Davaoeños who are already starting to experience traffic congestion in the city. LOVELY CARILLO

Operators of public utility jeepneys as well as drivers and their families who will be affected by the planned modernization of the city’s transport system, specifically the shift to the High Priority Bus System (HPBS), can expect a social compensation package from the city government.

This was the assurance made by Mayor Sara Duterte who, according to the City Information Office, earlier sought the help of Congress through former House speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to include the social compensation package in the budget.

"Congress also gave us P95 million from the Department of Trade and Investment (DTI) and this will create more than 10,000 livelihood kits. All they need to do is that they should be on our master lists and they can access the livelihood kits," Sara said.

The package  includes educational benefit such as a scholarship program for a four-year college course for one dependent. The specific beneficiaries should already be listed by the drivers and operators by March 2020 so they could be included in the master list that will be prepared by the city.

It also includes cash assistance and Technical Vocational training which will be provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Under the HPBS, the city will deploy around 1,000 "Life Bus" units that are set to replace 7,000 public utility jeepneys in 29 routes in the city. The name "Life Bus" is coined from the city’s brand “Life is Here.”

Sara earlier bared that the city government has set aside P540 million to fund the Social Development Program (SDP) for jeepney drivers and operators. This will ensure that no one will be left behind when the city shifts to a more modern transportation system.

SDP is a combination of social safety nets, economic assistance and capacity building available to eligible jeepney operators, operators-drivers and drivers depending on the choices they make, whether to participate in the HPBS, or to exit from the public transportation sector.

The city government is expected to roll out the low-floor buses in Catalunan Grande and Diversion Road by first quarter of 2020. The proper route for the north to south commuters is also expected to be opened during this time.

Dabawenyos already experiencing the benefits of a bus system for the city through the Davao Integrated Bus System (DIBS) although only in certain routes including Toril and Catalunan Grande.