PACKAGE OF ASSISTANCE. Twenty-five electronic tricycles are included in the package of assistance that the Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor and Employment released to Iloilo province on Monday (Nov. 8, 2021). Ten bus units that will use the cashless payment system were also launched. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – Thousands of Ilonggos benefitted from the package of projects and assistance that the national government rolled out for the province and this city on Monday.

The first cashless bus system outside Metro Manila was also launched, with 10 units that will ply between Iloilo and the Caticlan, Roxas City, and Kalibo routes.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, in his message during the turnover ceremony, said Iloilo can achieve more and grow in the future, thus the Duterte administration pushed for whatever support it can extend for the development of the province.

"We have here a package of ayuda (assistance). A package of love to the City of Love. Sapagkat pinaparating namin sa pamamagitan ng aming pagdalo ngayon ang pagmamahal ni (We send to you our love and of) President Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he said.

Tugade likewise turned over 25 electronic tricycles (e-trikes) here.

"Ito ho ay magagamit ninyo sa pagnenegosyo. Ito ay isang handog ng pagmamahal ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon sa siyudad ng Iloilo, nang sa ganoon makatulong kami sa kagustuhan ng mga taong maghanapbuhay at umangat ang kanilang buhay (You can use these for your business. It's a gift of love from the Department of Transportation to the city of Iloilo, so that we can help in the desire of the people to have jobs to improve their lives),” he said.

Department of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III also released PHP1.55 million worth of assistance to overseas Filipino workers, a program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

They package consisted of PHP420,000 for 14 scholars under the Education for Development Scholarship Program, PHP630,000 for 15 beneficiaries of the Tabang OFW, and PHP500,000 for 25 recipients of the Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay Program.

Further, 38 units of bicycle and 75 units of trisikad (bicycle with sidecar) with tools were released.

"Sabi ni Presidente, pera niyo ‘yan kaya basta meron ay ipamigay sa inyo (The President said that is your money and whatever is available, we will give to all of you),” Bello said.

Bello also announced that the PHP3,950 salary of 1,047 workers under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) emergency employment program would be increased to PHP4,500 each and committed 50 bicycles to each of the municipal mayors for distribution to their constituents. (PNA)