By: Jennifer P. Rendon
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched last week a scholarship program purposely schemed for jeepney drivers and other stakeholders under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
Dubbed as “Tsuper Iskolar”, the Program is a government-sponsored scholarship program offered to various transport cooperatives.
TESDA Director General Secretary Isidro Lapeña and Mark Richmond de Leon, DOTR Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure, attended the launching at the Robinsons Pavia, where more than 200 PUV drivers gathered to signify their intention to avail of the program.
Lapeña said the program aims to give PUV stakeholders additional training that would improve employment opportunities by providing scholarships and livelihood training to drivers, especially those affected by the PUV modernization.
It is also designed to provide beneficiaries and their families with free skills, training assessment, and entrepreneurship training.
Another good news is that the program has no timeline and would run as long as needed.
Several transport groups had earlier expressed that thousands all over the country will feel the brunt once the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) will take effect.
The DOTr launched the program in 2017 in a bid to make the country’s public transportation system efficient and environmentally-friendly by 2020.
Despite several protests from transports groups, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it would continue the program.
The LTFRB said the program will not just address the vehicle modernization aspect.
Instead, the PUVMP is a “comprehensive system reform that will entirely change the public land transportation industry. It features a regulatory reform and sets new guidelines for the issuance of franchise for road based public transport services.”
It can be recalled that TESDA and DOTr signed on December 11 last year the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Stakeholder Support Mechanism Component under the PUVMP. It seeks to address concerns regarding potential social impacts that the project may bring.
It also recognizes the need to able the affected stakeholders and their dependents to be competent, self-sufficient, and well-equipped with necessary technical education and skills.
This component provides training and social assistance to stakeholders that may be affected by the PUVMP.
Under the MOA, 350 million will be transferred by DOTr to TESDA for the skills training and assessment, including the development of training regulations and curricula for the transportation sector.
Apart from providing free skills training, TESDA shall be the one to set the guidelines for program implementation.
The target beneficiaries of the project shall include but not limited to:
- displaced persons affected by the PUVMP;
- stakeholders who opt to voluntarily exit from the transport industry;
- stakeholders who opt to continue in the transport industry;
- new stakeholders in the transport industry; and
- Family members/dependents of the affected stakeholders up to the third degree consanguinity or affinity.
Lapeña said beneficiaries could start with their driving training to upgrade their skills
They can also enroll in other skills like carpentry, electrical installation maintenance, and other training offered by TESDA.
“In their vacant time, they could engage in another income generating activities,” he said.
Those who are members of drivers’ association or cooperative could apply for the program. Other mentioned beneficiaries could directly apply with the LTRFB office.