DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 October) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) urged women to apply as bus drivers for the P18.6 billion High Priority Bus System (HPBS), in line with the agency’s efforts to promote gender equality.
Nicole Erika Cue, DOTr community development officer, said in an interview with Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that the government wants to incorporate gender and development (GAD) in the implementation of the HPBS, a program which seeks to modernize public transportation in Davao City.
“Regardless of gender, we will encourage everyone to participate in the future bus system. It’s very important for us to instill in the public that our gender and development efforts are really there for us to encourage men and women, and even the LGBT sector, to join and help us make the HPBS program not only gender sensitive but also gender responsive,” she said.
She said the DOTr encourages women to apply for jobs that are needed for the implementation of the HPBS, such as drivers, as she noted that many of them know how to drive vehicles as some spouses here take turns in driving passenger jeepneys.
Norman Baloro, commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, said the HPBS project, which seeks to address the traffic congestion in the city, will need around 3,000 bus drivers.
Cue said that jeepney drivers will be prioritized for the hiring of bus drivers because they will lose their livelihood once the HPBS is fully implemented.
“In our activities, we encountered couples who are both drivers. We encourage women as well to participate as bus drivers because we want equal opportunities for all,” she added.
Cue said the agency took into consideration the concerns of the vulnerable sector, including senior citizens, mothers, pregnant women and persons with disabilities in designing buses, terminals and bus stops for the HPBS project.
Video surveillance cameras would be installed in conspicuous areas to prevent sexual harassment, she added.
Marsha Mae Adolfo, GAD specialist of HPBS project management office, said that the incorporation of GAD into the HPBS is required under the agreement of the national government and Asian Development Bank, which supports the implementation of the bus modernization project.
“The standards of the ADB must be followed. This falls in the classification of effective gender mainstreaming since the output of this project seeks to (improve) social services,” she added.
According to DOTr, the bus system is scheduled for implementation from 2020 to 2023, and aims to “provide an efficient and affordable mode of transport for Dabawenyos through the delivery” of a modern bus system.
It added that the interconnected bus services would be prioritized along the 137-kilometer (km) core network, and 489 km of feeder routes.
Once operational, the HPBS will have 29 bus routes divided into the following four tiers: MetroDavao (will form the core services that connect all major commercial centers along five routes), DavaoInter (will run along with eight routes connecting the inner urban areas directly to the Davao Central Business District), DavaoFeeder (will run along nine routes linking smaller centers and areas of more dispersed populations to the MetroDavao services), and DavaoLocal (will provide a link between the outer rural areas of the city and main transport system or the integrated terminals). (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)