Sunday, December 22, 2013
MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada bats for the institutionalization of fixed monthly salaries and better working conditions for the public utility bus drivers, in an effort to promote road safety, improve traffic flow and prevent deadly highway accidents.
Sen. Estrada’s proposal is contained in Senate Bill 1372 or the “Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Program.”
Jinggoy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says that under the current boundary and commission-based compensation, bus drivers outdo and compete with each other and with limited working hours in drawing commuting passengers to ensure a decent daily take home pay for the family.
Jinggoy believes this compensation setup breeds a number of inconvenient and unsafe travel conditions for road users like clogged road lanes due to indiscriminate loading of passengers, buses beating speed limits, drivers stretching the work hours for ‘bonus’ pay, among others.
Under Senate Bill 1372, salaries of bus drivers should not be less than the prevailing minimum wage rate and must include benefits and incentives.
“A simple computation will show that drivers currently earning P900 a day and working more than 12 hours a day for three days a week will receive almost the same income based on the minimum wage for working eight hours a day for six days a week. The difference is that under the proposed act, drivers will get enough rest while operators will spend almost the same amount for salaries,” Jinggoy says in the bill’s explanatory note.
The bill also requires the operators of public utility bus service to observe an eight-hour daily work scheme (including at least 1 hour rest period) and two-shift system.
Violators of the law shall be meted out a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos, and suspension of the franchise to operate.
In a separate proposal also authored by Sen. Estrada, Senate Bill 1378 or the proposed “Comprehensive Assistance Program for Public Utility Vehicle Drivers Act” provides that all public utility bus drivers be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance System (Philhealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), and Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).
Senate Bill 1378 also seeks to implement a livelihood and credit assistance under Land Transportation Office and in coordination with the Cooperative Development Authority “to improve their socio-economic condition.”
Moreover, the bill asks the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to undertake a Continuous Education and Skills Development Training Program for public utility vehicle drivers “to enhance their basic and advanced driving competencies, and knowledge on maintenance procedures, driving preparation and post-driving procedure, road safety rules and accident response procedure.”
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