Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade reiterated his call for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors to join the Service Contracting and the Tsuper Iskolar Program as part of the agency’s assistance to road transport stakeholders who are among the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nandito po tayo para magbigay ng inspirasyon, encouragement para sa lahat sa inyo na kung maaari sumama, sumanib sa mga programang inihanda upang maka-benepisyo hindi lang ‘ho ang mga kapatid nating tsuper, kasama na rin ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” Sec. Tugade said as he also announced the expansion of the Libreng Sakay Program in Bulacan.
Under the DOTr’s Service Contracting Program, participating PUV drivers will receive an onboarding incentive and a per kilometer fee to ferry medical front liners, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs), and essential employees through the “Libreng Sakay” Program.
For those joining the Free Ride initiative under the Service Contracting Program, the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have increased the amount of payouts from P46.80 to P82.50 per kilometer for buses, and P52.50 for jeepneys.
PUV drivers also stand to receive an additional P7,000 if they log-in via the LTFRB’s Driver mobile application (app) for five days a week.
In coordination with Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando and on the recommendation of LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, the expanded Libreng Sakay Program will open additional routes in Meycauayan via Malolos going to McArthur Highway; Bocaue via Norzagaray or Angat via national road; and Malolos via San Miguel going to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.
Meanwhile, PUV drivers and conductors may also enroll in the DOTr-TESDA’s Tsuper Iskolar Program for them to be capacitated as well as have their skills enhanced through the free skills training, Sec. Tugade said.
“Ito ‘ho ay programa ng DOTr kasama ang TESDA at katuwang din ang LTFRB na kung saan magbibigay na kaalaman—skills and talents—sa mga tsuper, sa mga driver kung gusto nilang magmekaniko, o magtroubleshoot na tinatawag ukol sa pagmamaneho, pwede silang mag-apply,” he explained.
In partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and in mutual cooperation with the LTFRB and the Office of the Transportation Cooperatives (OTC), the Tsuper Iskolar program aims to provide PUV drivers and conductors, and their families with free skills training, skills assessment, and entrepreneurship training.
Sec. Tugade said that apart from the free skills training and assessment, Tsuper Iskolar beneficiaries and their dependents will receive a regular stipend of P350 for the duration of the training sessions.
The transportation chief also stressed that should PUV drivers opt to find work elsewhere, PUV drivers and conductors may apply for various jobs in the DOTR’s Rail sector for several Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects in Bulacan.
In his recent visits to the Valenzuela and Bulacan segments of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 project, Tugade reiterated that the agency will prioritize the hiring of displaced PUV drivers and conductors, including former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) under DOTr projects.