Jinggoy wants fixed salaries for bus drivers; social welfare services benefits for PUV drivers

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has filed a bill that will shield bus drivers and conductors from impact of the rising fuel prices and a measure ensuring social welfare services benefits and other livelihood assistance for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.

Estrada has sought to legislate the regulation of the compensation of public utility bus (PUB) drivers and conductors by requiring the operators to grant fixed salaries as well as fixed working hours.

“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 those working eight hours a day for six days. The difference is that under this proposed legislation, drivers will get enough rest while operators will spend almost the same amount for salaries,” the senator said in filing Senate Bill No. 48 or the proposed Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Act.

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

The lawmaker stipulated in his bill that PUB drivers shall not be made by their operators to drive more than eight hours straight and that there should be a two-shift system and at least one-hour rest per working day.

Also, the monthly salary of PUB drivers and conductors shall not be less than the minimum wage fixed by law and shall be paid in cash at least once every two weeks, Estrada said, adding that benefits and incentives provided in the Labor Code and related laws shall also be accorded to drivers and conductors.

To raise the standard of living of drivers and their families, Estrada proposed to have PUV drivers be covered in the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG and Employees Compensation Commission (ECC). Livelihood and credit assistance will also be available to help augment their family income.

In his Senate Bill No. 280 or the proposed Comprehensive Assistance Program for Public Utility Vehicles Drivers Act, the PUV operators are mandated to pay the equivalent amount of the monthly contribution paid for by the PUV drivers in the said social welfare services.

The Land Transportation Office’ (LTO) Office of the Transport Cooperative (OTC), in coordination with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and other concerned agencies shall be tasked to formulate and implement a comprehensive livelihood and credit assistance program for all PUV drivers to improve their socio-economic condition.

“The transport sector, particularly the PUVs, continues to be one of the most neglected sectors in the country. Most of them earn on a commission basis while others are on a ‘boundary’ scheme which only aggravates their poor working conditions,” Estrada said.

“Kung may mga benepisyong makukuha nila sa SSS, Pag-IBIG at iba pa, may maaasahan sila pati na rin ang pamilya nila na maaaring tumugon sa mga gastusin nila,” Estrada said.