DAVAO CITY – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said women are welcome to apply as “bus drivers” for the P18.6-billion High Priority Bus System (HPBS), as the agency seeks to provide equal opportunities for both genders.
Nicole Erika Cue, community development officer of DOTR, said during an interview over 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, even LGBT sector to join us and help us make HPBS program not only gender sensitive but also gender responsive,” she said.
She said that the DOTr encouraged women to apply for jobs that are needed for the implementation of the HPBS even as drivers, as she noted that many of them know how to drive vehicles as some spouses here take turns in driving the jeepneys.
Norman Baloro, commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, said HPBS will need around 3,000 bus drivers. This project seeks to address the traffic congestion in the city.
She said 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 encounter couples who are both drivers. We encourage women as well to participate as bus drivers because we want equal opportunities for all. She said she could only handle a jeepney because a bus is just too big for her. Actually, women are as capable as women. So, I encouraged her to apply,” 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 (PWDs) in designing buses, terminals, and bus stops, and CCTVs would be installed in conspicuous areas to prevent sexual harassment.
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 HPBS.
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).