GENERAL SANTOS City Mayor Ronnel C. River assured public utility drivers and operators of an inclusive modernization program following Tuesday’s turnover of the first batch of modern jeepneys that will be deployed in the city. At the Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) Summit on Wednesday, Mr. Rivera said, “When our transport sector moves, our commuters move, when our commuters move, our economy moves, kaya (so) let’s make sure we move as one… walang maiiwan (no one will be left behind).” The summit, intended to rationalize the public transport system in the city, was attended by TODA officials and members, representatives from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and other national government agencies. “If you look around you, you can see different agencies, and government offices all offering something para sa inyo (to you), to help you move forward,” the mayor said. The city government presented its proposed new transport plans and policies, which include addressing the proliferation of tricycles and congestion.

The first batch of new jeepneys, consisting of 15 units, were turned over to the Public Transport Alliance of General Santos City and will be operated by the Lagao Drivers Operators Transport Cooperative. It is part of the DoTr’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark Steven C. Pastor stressed during the turnover ceremony that the government’s PUVMP is intended to improve the country’s transport system and help in environmental protection. “Mayroon ‘ho itong katuturan at higit sa lahat, malaki ‘ho ang benepisyo nito sa mga driver at operator, sa commuter, at sa kabuuang sistema ng transportasyon sa bansa, pati na ‘ho sa kapaligiran (This has significance and most of all, it has big benefits to drivers, operators, commuters, the overall transport system, and the environment),” Mr. Pastor said. — MSJ