Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has re-assured jeepney drivers and operators the inclusion of social compensation packages for them when the transport sector shifts to the High Priority Bus System (HPBS).

Mayor Inday said the city government even sought the help of Congress, through former House speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to include the social packages for the drivers and operators affected by the implementation of the HPBS.

Congress responded, thereby included an educational benefit for one dependent – a scholarship program for a four-year college course.

The mayor said that by March 2020 the beneficiaries should be enlisted by the drivers and operators for inclusion on the master list of the city.

Also included are cash assistance and Technical Vocational training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“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,” she said.

Earlier, Mayor Inday bared that the city government has set aside P540 million to fund the Social Development Program (SDP) for jeepney drivers and operators, ensuring no one is left behind when the city shifts to modernizing the transportation sector.

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.

Under the HPBS, the city will deploy round 1,000 “Life Bus” units 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.”

The city government is eyeing the first quarter of 2020 to roll out the first operation of low-floor buses in Catalunan Grande and in Diversion Road, and the opening of the proper route for the north to south commuters. CIO