Hike in aid to PUJ operators to be affected by HPBS eyed

THE CITY government is proposing for an increase in the package for public utility jeepney (PUV) operators to P110,000 to cushion the impact of the high priority bus system (HPBS) program on them.

In explaining the proposal, Ivan C. Cortez, head of City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), the new amount would be part of the discussion this Friday with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in its negotiation for a loan package for the program that it will avail from the Asian Development Bank.

The new amount is higher than the P80,000 per operator proposal of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board based on its jeepney modernization program.

The amount would be given to public jeepney operators who will turn over their units when the HPBS is implemented. “We wanted to have high social package for them,” he said, although he added the city government will still be okay with the original amount proposed by the national government.

For the jeepney drivers, Cortez said there is also a proposal to cushion the impact of the program on them, “but nothing is definite. The legal team of national agencies involved will look into ways how it will be legally possible to extend assistance to affected stakeholders.”

Once the proposal to pursue HPBS including the suggested loan package is finalized, the DOTr will submit it to the investment coordination committee of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The city government hopes that their proposed loan package for the bus system will be approved this year.

“This will be under the sovereign loan of Asian Development Bank once this would be approved by NEDA,” Cortez said.

He said the project also included the establishment of bus stops for the HPBS. The system will have a maximum of six bus operators.

“Only buses under the system should ply in the city (routes). Those from outside the city would be only in the boundaries of the city once there would be bus terminals in Buda, Toril and Panacan,” Cortez said.

The HPBS is among the priorities of Mayor Sara Duterte.

Mayor Duterte said earlier in her speech during the Installation of Officers of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. that the bus system “will provide a safer mass transport system for the riding public that will require less travel time and less traffic congestion.”

The project, she said, is targeted to be set up in the middle of next year. (KMF)

Posted in Business