Metro Manila, Philippines—The first batch of displaced transport workers affected by the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) are now set to bounce back and kick start their first business through the livelihood assistance granted by the government.

The 178 displaced workers, consisting of drivers and operators, received package of assistance during the turnover ceremony of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC), and the Quezon City Government’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) on July 26, 2022 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

Earlier, the DOLE regional office in the National Capital Region (NCR) assessed the displaced transport workers on their preferred business project and held a social preparation training in March 2022 to equip them in managing the government aid. These livelihood projects include bake shop / bakery, food stall (carinderia), variety (sari-sari) store, tailoring, food cart, or thrift (ukay-ukay) shop. Other beneficiaries preferred to retail or resell one of the following goods, such as rice (bigasan), baked items, cold cuts, frozen meat, oil, load cards for cellphones (e-loading), school supplies, LPGs, or supplies and parts for motorcycles and PUJs.

DOLE-NCR holds “Conduct of Social Preparation and Business Planning Among Drivers and Operators in Preparation for the Availment of Livelihood Assistance” on 10 March 2022 at Quezon City Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Metro Manila with officials from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) through Joint Memorandum Circular No. 001, S. 2022.
IN TOP PHOTO (L-R): DOLE-NCR Quezon City Field Office (QCFO) Director, Engr. Martin T. Jequinto; OIC-Task force for Transport & Traffic Management Dexter C. Cardenas (representative of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte); DOLE-BWSC Director, Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla; DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol; Former DOLE Undersecretary Randy B. Escolango; OIC-Chairman of OTC, Eugene M. Pabualan; LTFRB-NCR Atty. Albertine Mariz Angeles (representative of LTFRB-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Zona Russet M. Tamayo); and LTFRB-NCR Planning Officer Antonio Randolf Noora.

Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla of the DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) led the distribution of the livelihood aid together with DOLE-NCR Assistant Regional Director Jude Thomas Piñero-Trayvilla on behalf of Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and Regional Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, respectively.

In her message on behalf of DOLE Secretary, the BWSC director urged recipients to ensure growth and sustainability of the government grant, adding further that the beneficiaries are entitled for a livelihood enhancement program should their business yield positive results.

“Once mapalago ninyo [ang livelihood assistance]…entitled din po kayo sa enhancement, provided na ma-sustain ninyo yung project and of course ang bottom line natin dito kayo din mismo magiging boss at makapag-provide kayo ng trabaho sa inyong community…so sana maaasahan po namin yan siguro after a year or after 2 years ay malalaki na ang inyong negosyo,” she said.

Likewise, LTFRB Chairperson Cheloy Velicaria Garafil along with the guest representatives from the transport department, sectoral and attached agencies looked forward to the success of their new livelihood undertaking. As the government strives to put a better system to ensure safe, efficient and reliable public transportation for everyone through its PUVMP, she assured the beneficiaries of their full support on their shift to entrepreneurship; expressing the same commitment should they wish to return as drivers or operators in the future.

“I’m sure sa inyong pagsisikap ay mapapagtagumpayan ninyo yung bagong yugto ng inyong buhay…ma-swerte kayo kasi kayo ang first batch ng mga recipients…at kung mag-dedecide kayo ulit na sumali sa transport sector, nandidito po kami para tulungan po kayo,” she said.

Further, the Quezon City Local Government Unit (LGU) also recognized the assistance provided by the drivers and operators during the pandemic, citing their significant role as “emergency response team” to ensure the continued transportation system in their area.

“…sila po ang nagpatakbo ng transportation system ng Quezon City pati yung bus implementation. Sila rin po ang katulong namin sa paghatid po ng mga OFW mula sa PITX hangang sa bahay nila at ang sector din naman ng toda at ng mga iba pang transport group dito. Special po sila ngayon kasi sila po yung nag-bridge po sa amin na magkaroon ng immediate na galaw o response sa panahon na wala pong galaw sa City Hall kaya masaya po kami na i-host kayo dito,” said Mr. Rogelio Reyes, Quezon City LGU’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Manager in his message on behalf of Mayor Joy Belmonte.

During DOLE’s social preparation training, the beneficiaries including Mr. Ryan Baretto from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan and Mr. Basilio Geñoso from Barangay Commonwealth in Quezon City were grateful for the livelihood assistance and commit to doing their part to sustain their new source of income.

Mr. Ryan Baretto from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan (left) and Mr. Basilio Geñoso (right) from Barangay Commonwealth in Quezon City were grateful for the livelihood assistance and commit to doing their part to sustain their new source of income. Photo taken during the “Conduct of Social Preparation and Business Planning Among Drivers and Operators in Preparation for the Availment of Livelihood Assistance” on March 10, 2022 at Quezon City Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

“Una sa lahat nagpapasalamat po ako sa lahat ng ahensya naten sa DOTr, LTFRB, DOLE dahil sa binigyan nyo kami ng ganitong pagkakataon para magkaroon kaming mga operator at driver ng puhunan. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyo,” said Mr. Baretto.

“Masaya ako kasi napili ako sa programang ito. Sana magtuloy-tuloy itong bagong hanapbuhay ko na binigay ng DOLE at DOTR para sa aming pamilya,” said Mr. Geñoso.

END / Hershey Aquino with photos from Dale Angeline Villafuerte and Iris Iera Espeña