‘Ano na?’

MANILA, Philippines — A Transportation Advocacy Network has urged the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Council to update the public on its past pledges to alleviate commuter issues with their action plan along of the EDSA bus carousel.

In a statement sent to reporters, commuter network The Passenger Forum noted that in mid-July the Department of Transportation announced its intention to resolve the EDSA Busway situation.

As a reminder, among the action points addressed by the DOTr are the following:

  • Deployment of 440 buses instead of the usual 200 units in the busway
  • Solving the huge payment backlog to operators and streamlining the payment process
  • Opening of a terminal at the northern end of the bus lane in Monumento similar to the PITX to the south

“Three weeks have already passed since the DOTR and LTFRB unveiled their action plan for the Busway EDSA. We want to know if there is any progress because the situation for passengers on the EDSA carousel has not improved much,” said TPF official Primo Morillo.

Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista inherits a transport situation that commuters and transport workers say is in crisis, with insufficient transport capacity that has only been made worse by soaring fuel prices. gas. Already, photos of long lines of commuters meandering through entire streets are once again becoming commonplace on social media.

DOTR and LTFRB officials developed the action plan after accepting the “rush hour challenge” from commuter groups and, according to The Passenger Forum, were “able to see the situation for commuters along the EDSA”.

“We told them before that TPF was happy for their acceptance of our rush hour challenge and we even welcomed their action plan afterwards. We believe in the action plan but since we don’t see any relevant changes, we hope that they will disclose the progress or if there are any obstacles in the implementation part,” Morillo said.

“We reminded them before that we will monitor. We will not allow them to make empty promises without taking this into account,” he added.

Fixed salaries, working hours of bus drivers postponed

As the DOTr continues to seek better bus driver ‘compliance’ to address the transportation crisis, advocates say this is only part of the problem, as many bus drivers say they operate at loss in difficult working conditions.

Earlier, Senator Jinggoy Estrada tabled a bill asking for social service benefits and other livelihood assistance for drivers of public utility vehicles.

By introducing Senate Bill No. 289 or the Public Commercial Vehicle Comprehensive Assistance Program Bill, the legislature sought to legislate compensation regulations for public bus drivers and conductors by forcing operators to grant fixed wages and fixed working conditions. hours.

“A simple calculation will show that drivers who currently earn 900 pesos a day and work more than 12 hours a day for three days a week will receive almost the same income based on the minimum wage as those who work eight hours a day for six days. The difference is that under this bill, drivers will get enough rest while operators will spend almost the same amount on salaries,” the senator said while introducing Senate Bill 48 or the Bill on compensation for bus drivers and drivers.

“With the assurance of fixed salaries on a regular basis, PUB drivers and conductors will no longer be pressured or forced to work beyond human working hours. Serious accidents and traffic problems involving these buses will also be drastically reduced,” Estrada added.

Under the bill, bus drivers should not be forced by their operators to drive more than eight hours at a stretch. The bill also requires bus companies to implement a two-shift system and at least one hour off every working day.

If the measure is adopted, the monthly salary of public service bus drivers and conductors will not be lower than the minimum wage set by law and will be paid in cash at least once every two weeks.

To raise the standard of living for drivers and their families, Estrada proposed that PUV drivers should be covered by the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG and the Compensation Commission employees.

Livelihood assistance and credit will also be available to help increase their family income.

The bill also provides that PUV operators are required to pay the equivalent amount of the monthly contribution paid by PUV drivers in said social services.

“The transport sector, especially PUVs, continues to be one of the most neglected sectors in the country. Most of them earn on commission while others are on a ‘limit’ diet which does not only aggravate their poor working conditions,” Estrada said. . —Franco Luna

Comments are closed.