Tugade calls on PUV drivers to join contracting, scholarship program


Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade called on public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors to join the Service Contracting and the Tsuper Iskolar Program.

The programs are part of the agency’s assistance to road transport stakeholders, who are among the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, DOTr said. 

Tugade said the programs will benefit the PUV drivers and conductors, as well as their families. 

Under the Service Contracting Program, PUV drivers will receive an onboarding incentive, and a per-kilometer fee when they ferry medical frontliners, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs), and essential employees through the Libreng Sakay Program. The program was rolled out in Bulacan recently. 

The DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have increased the amount of payouts to drivers who participate in Libreng Sakay. The payout is now up from P46.80 to P82.50 per kilometer for buses, and P52.50 for jeepneys, the DOTr said. 

PUV drivers also stand to receive an additional P7,000 if they log in via the LTFRB's driver mobile application for five days a week, the agency added. 

In coordination with Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando and LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, the expanded Libreng Sakay Program will open additional routes in Meycauayan via Malolos going to MacArthur Highway, Bocaue via Norzagaray or Angat via national road, and Malolos via San Miguel going to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.

PUV drivers and conductors may also enroll in the DOTr-Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Tsuper Iskolar Program, to have their skills enhanced through the free skills training, Tugade said.

Tugade added that the training will teach PUV operators the skills needed to become a mechanic, or general troubleshooting. 

Aside from those subjects, the Tsuper Iskolar program aims to provide PUV drivers and conductors, and their families with free skills training, skills assessment, and entrepreneurship training, the DOTr said. 

Beneficiaries of the program and their dependents will receive a regular stipend of P350 for the duration of the training sessions, Tugade said. 

The transportation chief also advised that should PUV drivers opt to find work elsewhere, they may apply for various jobs in the DOTr's rail sector as part of 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 said the agency will prioritize the hiring of displaced PUV drivers and conductors, including former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). 

Photo from Department of Transportation (DOTr)

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