BACOLOD CITY – The United Negros Transport Cooperative (UNETCO) based in this city received on Wednesday a PHP1 million livelihood assistance from the government's EnTsuperneur Program, a joint project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) providing alternative sources of income for public transport stakeholders affected by the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The amount, which will be used for a rice retailing project, was received by Romelie Soliguen, chairperson of UNETCO, from DOLE-Negros Occidental head Carmela Abellar, in the presence of Undersecretary Ramon Lee Cualoping III, director general of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and Assistant Secretary Katherine Chloe de Castro, deputy director general and concurrent officer in charge of PIA 6 (Western Visayas), during the "Hinun-anon," an information campaign event of the agency on the social assistance for public transport workers, held at the Green Garden here.
"This will help our displaced drivers, conductors, and operators. They are those whose livelihood have been affected," Soliguen said.
UNETCO consists of consolidated drivers and operators from the three major transport federations in the city, including the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center, Federation of Bacolod Drivers Association, and Sentrong Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Negros Occidental.
Soliguen said they have awarded six out of the 24 routes under the city's Local Public Transport Route Plan, with a total of 293 units of modern utility jeepneys.
A total of 97 units approved under a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines are the first to ply the city streets, including the 23 units set to be delivered next week, she added.
The EnTsuperneur Program aims to provide social safety and employment opportunities to the affected stakeholders of the PUVMP through livelihood assistance packages that are aptly selected, enabling beneficiaries to have sustainable sources of income outside the public transportation industry. (PNA)