The Davao City Transport and Traffic Management Office ( CTTMO ) has assured Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers there is nothing to fear in losing their livelihood when the city government rolls out the High Priority Bus System (HPBS).

CTTMO chief Dionisio Abude said the HPBS will open new opportunities for the drivers and operators.

“The rollout of the HPBS will not close the door to jeepney drivers. Instead, it will open new opportunities for them,” Abude said.

Under the HPBS, the affected PUV drivers will be the priority for employment. They will be given the skills training at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so they would qualify for the HPBS.

The city government is expecting more or less 7,000 drivers and operators will be affected by the HPBS, which is a priority agenda of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte aimed at modernizing the public transport system in the city, provide safe and convenient transportation to the public and ease the traffic situation in the city.

HPBS is set for rollout this year with the success of the bus augmentation system implemented by the city government in selected areas.

“The City has a program for those willing jeepney drivers to undergo TESDA training. Those who will qualify will be recommended to the bus operators to become the drivers of the buses,” he said.

Abude said the drivers will be employed as regular workers and not percentage-based. This means they will also be entitled to social and health insurance under PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig and the Social Security System (SSS).

If not hired as drivers, they can be taken in as workers in the bus terminals. Aside from this, the affected drivers and operators will also be given assistance for a period of six months.

“The City Government is now looking on the financial assistance that will be given to the drivers. The drivers/operators will have separate financial assistance. The city is still assessing how much should we give to the drivers and operators,” Abude said. CIO