Davao City sets aside 100-M for bus system

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 Aug) — A hundred million peso budget has been allocated by the City Government of Davao this year to start the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS), which seeks to address the traffic congestion and lower the carbon footprint discharged by vehicles here, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

“For this year, nag budget ta og (We have budgeted) P100 million from the funds of the city government to start the bus system,” Duterte said during the Give Us This Day program of international evangelist Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy on Friday.

Davao City’s MacArthur Highway in Matina. A bus system for the city, soon. MindaNews file photo by GG BUENO

The mayor said HPBS would replace the jeepneys with buses as the new mode of public transport.

She said the local government wants to get the “latest modern technology in the bus system” similar to those implemented in more advanced countries.

Last year, the Asian Development Bank announced it would set aside $70 million for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project, designed to improve public transport infrastructures and services in Davao City.

Mayor Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the city plans to train and employ the displaced jeepney drivers as bus drivers and encourage the operators to invest in the bus units that will be utilized in the new transport system.

She maintained that the current transport system is not only pollutive but also costly on the drivers as units can have only a few passengers — between 12 and 15 — per trip. In effect, she said commuters need more jeepneys, causing traffic congestion.

“It’s expensive and will not provide more profit to our jeepney drivers and operator because they’re small, they can haul up a few passengers leaving more carbon footprint to the environment),” she said in mixed English and Cebuano.

She explained that the drivers can get more income from the bus system and will be beneficial for the environment.

“We are trying to make the jeepney sector understand that they will make more money and it will be better for our environment, better for our health, especially to the drivers kung mag bus system ta (if we shift to the bus system),” she said.

She said the transport sector is amenable on the proposal and claimed the local government gets help from the taxi sector to “convince the jeepney sector to shift.”

When the commuters see that public transport is “clean, effective, and efficient,” there will be fewer private cars on the streets because they will be encouraged to take the buses, she said.

The mayor hopes to get the entire HPBS project implemented by 2022 “but if not modagan ko again og mayor para mahuman sya by 2025 ang high priority bus system (I will run again for mayor so I can get the high priority bus system done by 2025).” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)