By: Iriz Jane A. Capuyan, CDS II

Balangay Transport Service Cooperative also known as BALTRANSCO, for short, is one of the operating transport cooperatives in Butuan City. The cooperative was officially registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) last July 13, 2018. It was in response to PUV Modernization Program launched by the Department of Transportation of the Philippines in 2017, that made them decide to organize a public transport cooperative. They realized that forming a cooperative was the only way to modernize the transportation sector. Besides, the group’s main concern is “to help drivers get a job and generate income”.

The vision of the cooperative is:  to be a world-class transport cooperative industry, innovating individuals for better, modern and holistic approach in terms of fleet management strategy. Their mission is: to provide quality and modernized transport vehicle services to the public, for commuters and members satisfaction. To this end, the cooperative now owns fifty-two (52) units of taxi and fifteen (15) units of modern jeepneys.

According to the Chairperson, Mr. Juanito Ubas, when they used to be single operators, they did not know where else to go in case of emergency. Unlike now, the cooperative member-drivers can borrow cash from the cooperative with low interest rate in times of emergencies.  Member-cooperators also offer moral support to each other during hard times.

Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperative still continues to rise although they were greatly affected by the crisis. They have extended services to the community during the lockdown in Butuan City. The cooperative distributed twenty (20) kilos of rice to each of its members and donated instant cup noodles, crackers, coffee, and bottled water at every entry point of Butuan City.

These entry points are situated on the following barangays: Sumilihon, Taligaman, Bit-os and Bancasi.

For safety measures, the cooperative Balangay Taxi officially signed commitment to disinfect and sanitize all their units regularly to provide a safe and hygienic ride for the public. BALTRANSCO also signed an agreement with OWWA Caraga to become the officially designated transportation for all Returning Overseas Workers (ROF). They conducted as well a dry run for the automated fare collection system, as part of the PUV modernization program of the government to calibrate the accuracy of the device and surveyed what the passengers’ reaction on the new payment scheme. Besides, this scheme is designed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 from one person to another which might happen through the exchange of money. In addition, Balangay Taxi is also upgrading its fleet so that the passengers can enjoy free wifi and stay connected with the rest of the world. This is in compliance with the requirement of modernization of public transport.

The cooperative is now grateful for its continuing growth and acknowledged the support and guidance of government agencies in helping the cooperative achieve this continuous progress.

Looking forward, BALTRANSCO cooperators promised to continue to strive for the betterment of the cooperative BY PROVIDING QUALITY TRANSPORT SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC.  *******