The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC) awarded membership cards to public utility jeepney (PUJ) and tricycle drivers last February 5 at the Provincial Capitol Grounds.
Awarding was held alongside the Philippine National Police (PNP) Awards and during Open Capitol Day, highlights of Ilocos Norte’s 198th Foundation Anniversary celebration.
MINC was established in early 2015 to develop an integrated traffic management system catered to people’s mobility needs and accommodate the increasing number of tourist and other vehicles brought from rising urbanization in the province. It was observation of the worsening traffic conditions in major Metro Manila roads that necessitated the action, according to Governor Imee R. Marcos.
Last November, a transport group seminar was conducted at the Mariano Marcos State University━Teatro Ilocandia, Batac City, to inculcate better etiquette and unity among PUJ and tricycle drivers. Later that month, PGIN launched the MINC gas station in front of the Centennial Arena, where drivers could avail of discounts on gasoline and diesel.
There are 2,111 cardholders and registered members of MINC at present. Tricycle drivers receive a six-peso discount per liter of gasoline (maximum of five liters a day) at the MINC station; meanwhile, jeepney drivers get a four-peso discount per liter of diesel (maximum of 30 liters a day).
In addition to the gas and diesel discounts, cardholders also enjoy medical benefits, namely: a 10% discount at all Generika pharmacies, and life insurance from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), point-of-care.
In early 2015, PGIN centralized jeepney terminals into the west parking lot of the Provincial Capitol in order to lessen traffic and confusion due to the scattered locations of the different terminals. The MINC Night Express also debuted for tourists and commuters who need to travel at night, curbing transportation costs for residents dependent on big bus liners when traveling late at night or early in the morning.
Gov. Imee recognizes the importance of the transportation sector in the smooth flow of day-to-day operations in the province, saying during the MINC card awarding, “Narito ang ating mga tricycle, pasada, at jeepney, na siyang nagbibigay ng sirkulasyon at buhay sa mga napakagandang kalsada ng ating probinsiya.”
She also reminded the drivers during the gas station launching last November, “Hindi kayo nagkakalayo sa amin, sa mga opisyal ng gobyerno, kawani sa Capitol━serbisyo publiko rin.” —Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO