As BRT construction disrupts PUJ operation, DOTr assures drivers, operators of compensation
CEBU CITY, Philippines –The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) team of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has assured affected operators, drivers, transport cooperatives, and corporations of social safeguards and mitigations for any income loss incurred with the start of the construction of the Package One of the P16.307 billion CBRT project.
This as hundreds of drivers and operators of traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs) and cooperatives and corporations operating modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs) that ply Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City have been affected by the ongoing civil works of the phase one of the BRT.
CBRT Project Development Officer III Mylen Cinco, in an interview with CDN Digital on Thursday, March 30, 2023, said several mitigation options are in place for affected drivers, operators, cooperatives and corporations by the CBRT construction.
These are contained in the recently approved Social Management Program (SMP) of the Cebu BRT project, whose budget will be taken from the coffers of the national government.
“In case, kung magka-construction na, makita nato nga naa nay epekto sa ilahang byahe. For example, tungod nag board up na kay nag ready na for construction, ang ilang round trips instead na ang usual is 10,15, 20 [round trips], tungod na narrow na ang roads, naay disruption [of their travel],” Cinco told CDN Digital in an interview on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
Package One of the Cebu BRT runs from Cebu South Bus Terminal to the Cebu Provincial Capitol.
The majority of the civil construction is currently visible along Osmeña Boulevard.
The Cebu BRT project is expected to provide Metro Cebu a long-term solution to its perennial traffic problems.
Cinco said affected individuals and cooperatives or corporations in the transport sector may opt to avail of mitigation options under the four pillars of the SMP: cooperative formation and strengthening, skills training, alternative livelihood restoration, and social financing.
Cooperative formation and strengthening
This pillar can only be availed by those operators who have consolidated into corporations or cooperatives as part of the DOTr’s ongoing Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
This component of the SMP aims to help transport operators strengthen their cooperatives.
The Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC) of the LTFRB will lead its implementation.
Meanwhile, operators, drivers, and their beneficiaries or family members may also opt to avail of the skills training they deem fit for them from the skills training program offered by TESDA.
They may register individually at the Cebu BRT office located at the third floor of the LTFRB-7 office in Cebu City.
“After the training, tagaan sila og tools and allowance, pero si TESDA na ang (mag set) sa guidelines ana,” Cinco said.
Alternative Livelihood Restoration
Cinco said this option would cater to those operators and drivers who would opt to switch livelihoods.
“(Kung) ganahan sila nga mo-venture og laing livelihood ba like mo establish ba silag mga enterprises, willing ta mo assist nila,” she said.
Cinco said operators and drivers of TPUJs would undergo training by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), depending on which agency is fit for their chosen alternative livelihood.
“Kung ganahan sila og business, dapat mo-present sila og business plan para mahatagan sila og guidance. Naay equivalent amount ana niya pero adto i-download sa implementing agency,” she said.
On the other hand, under social financing, all affected operators and drivers of TPUJs and cooperatives or corporations with MPUJ units, will receive a transitional allowance.
“Tungod kay nakita nato nga naay disruption sa ilang operations per day, tagaan nato sila og transitional allowance aron maka-survive sila pod ba, nga dili tungod sa project, wala na hinoon silay mahatag sa ilang pamilya everyday kay tungod sa ilang roundtrips nga nakuhaan,” Cinco said.
Operators and drivers of TPUJs could receive a transitional allowance amounting to P140,000 and P58,000, respectively, while cooperatives/corporations will receive a transitional allowance of P154,000 per MPUJ unit.
The funds for the transitional allowance will be downloaded to the LTFRB, as the implementing agency.
The LTFRB-7 would also be the one to set the guidelines for the release of the transitional allowance.
Cinco said the Cebu BRT team will be conducting monitoring of those qualified for the transitional allowance from April 1 until June 30.
She said they aim to release the transitional allowance before this year ends.
As of now, the Cebu BRT team is still finalizing the total number of affected operators, drivers, conductors, and units per transport corporation and cooperatives.
The Cebu BRT team has given drivers and operators until March 31 to submit their final list for them to be entitled to the mitigation measures offered by the SMP.
“Karon is need nami makakuan (makakuha) sa lista (from operators, drivers, cooperatives and corporations for validation)…Ongoing ang among validation ana kay sa time man gud nga nag formulate ang Social Management Plan (SMP), mostly ato kay traditional public jeepneys pa… wala pa kaayo to’y (listed) modernized jeeps,” she added.
As of now, Cinco said they have already listed and verified about 1,000 affected operators and drivers [for TPUJs], and MPUJ units.
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