World Bank: Compensate drivers affected by BRT

File photo
File photo

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has assured the 5,094 public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators that they will be compensated for any income loss incurred amid the ongoing construction of the P16.3 billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project.

This, as the Social Management Plan of the project has already been approved by the World Bank, CBRT manager Norvin Imbong said on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

The Social Management Plan (SMP) is a condition of the World Bank for the use of its funds for the project, he said.

The Cebu BRT project is funded by loans from the French government through Agence Française de Développement (Eur 50.89 million or $55.32 million at today’s exchange rate); the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ($116 million), the lending arm of the World Bank Group; and the Clean Technology Fund ($25 million) administered by the World Bank.

The Philippine government will provide $87.5 million in counterpart financing for the project.

Imbong said thousands of individuals would be affected by Phase 1 of the CBRT project that runs from the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) to the Capitol via Osmeña Boulevard and the Phase 2 construction from CSBT to the South Road Properties (SRP) and from the Capitol to the Cebu IT Park.

In assisting the PUJ operators and drivers, the CBRT management will be guided by the four pillars of the SMP, which are cooperative formation and strengthening, skills training, alternative livelihood restoration and social financing.

The budget for the SMP would be taken from the coffers of the national government.

According to a survey conducted by the CBRT’s social management group, whose consultant is from the University of San Carlos, there are 2,568 operators, 2,526 drivers and 3,800 jeepneys that will be affected by the project.

Imbong said the affected individuals would be given the option to pick which of the four pillars they would like to avail themselves of.

But he anticipated that majority of the drivers and operators would chose the fourth pillar, which is the financial assistance, to make up for their lost income due to the dwindling number of passengers that they would be able to carry each day as a result of the traffic congestion caused by the construction of the CBRT stations and dedicated lanes.

The social management group will determine how many trips the drivers would make in a day.

The CBRT manager, however, said the financial assistance for operators and drivers will have to go through several processes and this will be released next year yet.

Package 1 of the CBRT, which has a budget of P1.1 billion, is targeted to be completed this December.

The entire project, which spans 21 kilometers, would be fully operational by 2025.

Imbong revealed that once the CBRT project becomes operational, PUJs will no longer be allowed to travel on the mass transit route and will be transferred to other routes, but they will still be able to bring passengers to the CBRT stations depending on their new routes. (TPT)


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