JEEPNEY DRIVERS and operators who will be affected by the launch of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) in Davao City have five social compensation packages to choose from, including educational assistance, skills training, and cash-for-work assistance. HPBS Spokesperson Norman Baloro, in a statement from the city government, said each driver and operator can choose three among the five packages designed and offered by national government agencies. These are:
• Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) — one month cash-for-work program with a compensation of at least P11,000, plus financial assistance;
• Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) — livelihood kits and capacity-building for entrepreneurship;
• Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) — various skills training, with priority given to NC3 level course for bus driving and other automotive-related courses;
• Commission on Higher Education (CHED) — four-year course education grant of P15,000 per year for one beneficiary of the driver or operator; and
• Department of Health (DoH) — P5,000 to P10,000 medical assistance on top of benefits from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the city’s government’s Lingap program.
Mr. Baloro said these compensation packages will be available not just for drivers and operators who will be affected by the HPBS first phase, “but all jeepney drivers and operators can avail it now.” Coordination work has started while the list of beneficiaries are being validated through the HPBS Project Office located at the 2nd Floor of the Pasalubong Center. About 135 buses will be deployed “soon” for the HPBS first phase, covering the Toril, Catalunan Grande, and Diversion road routes. Around 1,000 bus units are planned for the HPBS, which will have 7,000 public utility jeepneys in 29 routes around the city.