03 July 2021


CAVITE – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade urged drivers and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) in Cavite to enroll in the slots to be opened for the Tsuper Iskolar Program during his visit to the province on Friday, 02 July 2021.

An initiative between the DOTr and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in cooperation with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Office of the Transportation Cooperatives (OTC), the Tsuper Iskolar program is in line with the Stakeholders’ Support Mechanism Component of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

The Tsuper Iskolar aims to provide participating PUV drivers, conductors, and their family members with free skills training, skills assessment, and entrepreneurship training. Participants in the program are given a daily stipend of P350 for the duration of their training under TESDA.

During his visit, Sec. Tugade narrated his life story to inspire PUV drivers and operators and stress how added knowledge and continuing learning can help improve lives.

“Kaisa ninyo ako. Nanggaling ako sa wala. Ngayon meron. Kung kinaya ko naman ‘yun, kakayinin n’yo rin. Nandito kami upang makipagdayalogo, upang mapaliwanag ang Tsuper Iskolar Program. Maniwala ka kaibigan, ‘yan ay magbubukas sa’yo ng pinto pandagdag pangkabuhayan ninyo,” Sec. Tugade said in his dialogue with transport groups and government officials.

The slots for the Tsuper Iskolar Program will be replenished to accommodate more PUV drivers, conductors, and their beneficiaries.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor said the P100 million needed budget to open 4,000 more slots for the program was allotted under the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which is expected to be released to the Department on the 3rd quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, Sec. Tugade also explained to drivers the benefits of the Program Assistance to Support Alternative Driving Approaches (PASADA,) which is the financing program of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for transport stakeholders who will take part in the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Under PASADA, the DBP will provide financial assistance to accredited transport cooperatives with a “5-6-7” repayment scheme. The financial assistance – 5% equity, 6% annual interest, and payable within seven (7) years will enable corporations and cooperatives to buy brand-new vehicles that are compliant with PUVMP standards.

While DBP will transact exclusively with Transport Service Cooperatives (TSC), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) will offer the same payment scheme to driver-operators who are members of TSCs.

DBP pointed out that only brand new vehicles are eligible for the loan and that the bank will look at the profitability of the proposed routes and the new vehicles’ technical sustainability to ensure that the bank will be repaid.

“Pwede rin pong ipaayos ang sasakyan as long as it will pass as roadworthy,” Sec. Tugade clarified as a driver asked if he can repair his vehicle instead of buying a new one.

Corruption not tolerated

Meanwhile, Sec. Tugade has also called on transport stakeholders to be a strong partner of the government in its fight against corruption. Reiterating the significant role of PUV drivers in achieving the DOTr’s goal to end corrupt practices, Sec. Tugade urged them to expose any corrupt official in the ranks of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) or the LTFRB in their area.

“Kung mayroon ‘ho kayong alam na korapsyon. Mamaya, pagkatapos na pagkatapos nito, bigyan mo ako ng pangalan, titingnan ‘ho natin yan. Ayaw po ng presidente ng korapsyon, ayaw ko rin ng korapsyon,” the Secretary responded to a question forwarded anonymously, during the dialogue, asking how drivers can report such act.

Sec. Tugade said that under his administration, over 200 personnel across DOTr attached agencies nationwide were dismissed from service for involvement in illegal activities.


02 July 2021


ANTIPOLO, RIZAL – LRT-2 commuters going to Pasig, Marikina, and Antipolo can now enjoy a more comfortable, convenient, and faster travel as President Rodrigo Duterte, together with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade, inaugurated the LRT-2 East Extension project on 01 July 2021.

Also opened were two additional LRT-2 stations – the Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo stations – which will enable the rail line to accommodate an additional 80,000 passengers. Daily ridership was increased to 320,000 passengers from the previous 240,000 passengers. The rail extension line also cuts the usual three-hour road travel time from Recto, Manila to Masinag, Antipolo to just 30-40 minutes.

President Duterte commended the efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), under the leadership of Secretary Tugade, and its key private sector partners for the completion of the project despite difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Your efforts and determination show that the government stops at nothing to carry on its mandate, to serve the people’s interest no matter the circumstances,” he said.

“I’ve been saying this over again, I have been redundant about it. This guy [Sec. Tugade] is our valedictorian in law school. Alam ko talaga this guy is marunong, kaya ito ang unang pinakiusapan ko sa journey ko as President. Sila ni Secretary [Mark] Villar ‘yung nag-perform exceedingly well and I thank them. I am really grateful for their services, these are my idol sa gobyerno,” the President shared.

During the ceremony, the President asked Secretary Tugade to give commuters free rides for the first two weeks of the extended line’s operations.

On Monday, 05 July 2021, when the extended line opens, passengers from Santolan to Antipolo and vice versa, will ride for free.

Secretary Tugade said the project’s completion has impact on the lives of daily commuters, especially students going to Manila’s university belt.

“Ito ‘ho ‘yung isang alignment ng tren na kung saan ang malaking makikinabang ay ang mga mag-aaral. Kasi po, Mr. President, ito ‘hong LRT-2 extension ay babaybay at dadaan sa sa tinatawag natin na University District sa Claro M. Recto. Bago nag-pandemya ang mga estudyante na sumasakay dito sa LRT-2 ay 40% ng total ridership, mga 80,000,” Secretary Tugade said.

“Malaking bagay ‘ho ito, sasabihin ko lang kung mararapatin. ‘Pag nagbiyahe ka sa C.M. Recto papuntang Antipolo, by land – between 3 to 4 hours. With the LRT Extension, magiging 30 minutes na lang po ‘yan. Ang ibig sabihin, maraming oras na mabibigay sa pamilya, pag-aaral at oras sa ating pagnenegosyo,” Tugade added.

Meanwhile, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Gen. Reynaldo Berroya, for his part, said the project fulfills the government’s promise to provide commuters with a  safe, reliable and efficient mode of transportation.

He added that the LRT-2 East Extension project also took more than two decades before it was realized.

“The need to extend the LRT-2 existing system to Antipolo was seen two decades ago through a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The nod was given in 2012 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) leading to a groundbreaking ceremony held in June 2015 followed by groundbreaking ceremonies in June 2017, and April 2019 for its Packages 2 and 3,” Gen. Berroya pointed out.

On Monday, 05 July, commuters will board a shuttle train that will take them from the line’s  Antipolo Station to the Santolan Station, and vice versa.

During the line’s shuttle operations for the next two weeks, passengers will board at the Antipolo Station or at the Marikina-Pasig Station and alight at the Santolan Station.

From the Santolan Station, passengers will transfer to another train that will take them to the Recto Station (and vice versa).


Duterte signs order formalizing adoption of NERS employment recovery agenda  

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers the keynote address during the TGER-NERS Job Summit last Labor Day, May 1, via pre-recorded message.  

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) No. 140 officially adopting the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) as the Philippine government’s master plan for the restoration of the country’s labor market. The EO institutionalizes the 20-agency strong NERS Task Force (TF), charging it to implement the strategy from 2021 to 2022, in response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The NERS 2021-2022 is an employment recovery plan anchored on the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and ReCharge.PH expanding the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan initiative in consideration of the changes in the labor market brought by pandemic and the accelerated adoption of new technologies. It takes a whole-of-society approach in the development of a national strategy that addresses the social and economic issues arising from the lingering pandemic.  

Under EO 140, the NERS is to precipitate the recovery of the labor market through (1) the creation of a policy environment that encourages generation of and improved access to employment, livelihood, and training opportunities; (2) the improvement of employability, wellness, and productivity of workers; and (3) the provision of support to existing and emerging businesses, ensuring the preservation of employment.  

The EO details the composition and organization of the NERS TF, naming as Chair the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as Co-Chairs. Members of the inter-agency TF include the Departments of Transportation (DOTr), Tourism (DOT), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Science and Technology (DOST), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Education (DepEd), Finance (DOF), Budget and Management (DBM), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Security Council (NSC), the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).  

The Task Force is given the following powers and functions:  

            a.         Formulate the NERS Action Plan, and make the necessary changes thereto, in order to  address the recovery of the labor market, and the prevailing employment issues therein;  

            b.         Harmonize the employment, livelihood and training projects and programs of the National Government towards the preservation and creation of more jobs;  

            c.         Foster strong partnerships that will complement and sustain efforts for stakeholders to recover, secure and preserve employment, as well as rebuild the labor market;  

           d.          Tap the private sector employers’ groups, the International Labour Organization Country Office, and other partners, where mutually feasible, for joint programs and technical cooperation initiatives to augment and expand employment generation and livelihood   


            e.         Identify existing relevant programs of the. member-agencies of the Task Force for harmonization with the NERS;  

            f.          Engage in promotional activities to expand the reach of the national and local employment campaign;  

            g.         Oversee the implementation of the NERS Action Plan, ensure the attainment of its objectives, and recommend measures to address gaps in implementation; and  

            h.         Perform such other functions as the President may direct.  

The NERS TF was first organized on 5 February 2021, during the ceremonial signing of the NERS Joint Memorandum Circular constituting the group. On the 22nd of the same month, President Duterte approved the NERS during the 52nd Cabinet meeting and ordered the development of an EO institutionalizing the plan and the task force. The EO was originally expected to be signed last Labor Day during the TGER-NERS Job Summit on 1 May, but was still undergoing further review and improvements at the time.  

EO 140 is expected to strengthen the NERS Task Force’s implementation of its 8-Point Employment Recovery Agenda. First unveiled to the public during the TGER-NERS Job Summit, the Php 1.14-trillion plan is expected to generate at least 220,000 jobs and assist over 1.4 million Filipinos struggling with unemployment and income losses.  

The conduct of the Job Summit, which brought together over 500 employer and worker group represented by over 2,000 participants, forms part of the task force’s commitments under the agenda, and demonstrates its resolve to engage the whole of society in its approach to recovery.  

“We thank President Duterte for signing the landmark NERS 2021-2022, which is aimed at bringing back jobs and further strengthening the local workforce. This recovery plan also helps Filipino workers regain lost opportunities in the labor market since the onset of the pandemic,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who also sits as Chair of the NERS Task Force.  

Other items in the recovery agenda include the passage of legislations and policies that strengthen economic and employment recovery, the promotion of retooling and upskilling of workers, the implementation of youth employability programs, the provision of assistance to businesses in the form of loans, deferment of fees, upgrading of processes, etc., the provision of social protection to vulnerable groups, and the continuous monitoring and support to programs with high impact on employment.  

Next in the pipeline is the approval of a proposed wage subsidy program for private sector workers. The Php 24-billion safety net program can help retain as many as one million workers. Aimed at saving jobs and promoting employee retention, the program would provide workers with a monthly subsidy of Php 8,000 for up to three months.

EO 140 orders the TF to “conduct a joint evaluation of the policies and effectiveness of the NERS” every three (3) months. The Task Force is likewise directed to submit periodic reports on the results of the joint evaluations and the implementation of NERS to the Office of the President. END