The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - To ensure the safety of passengers on the road, bus drivers have been urged to take free assessment and certification by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) now that the Department of Labor and Employment has started implementing a fixed-pay scheme for them.
“The certification will ensure that public buses plying the roads are being manned by responsible and skilled drivers. Being a TESDA-certified driver will also serve as guarantee to the bus operators that they maintain a pool of qualified drivers, who would be getting a fixed salary,” Secretary Joel Villanueva, TESDA chief, said.
“With the TESDA certification, appropriate skills and adequate pay, we believe that there will be fewer, if not zero accidents, on the road,” he added.
Villanueva said he instructed all offices of the agency nationwide to reserve slots for bus drivers to let them access the free assessment from July 9 to 20 through the National TVET (Technical Vocational Education Training) Competency Assessment and Certification.
TESDA will also conduct two more schedules for the assessment on August 20 to 31 and on October 15 to 26.
Since TESDA started the assessment and certification for bus drivers, Villanueva said they have certified a total of 3,540 drivers, from the 4,232 who underwent the assessment.
“Our coordination with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and bus associations has been non-stop since last year to help drivers get ready for the assessment,” Villanueva said.
TESDA gives training to personnel of bus companies who will serve as trainers and assessors of the bus drivers, he said.
Early last year, the Land Transportation Office and the Department of Transportation and Communications mandated all bus drivers in Metro Manila to secure a National Certificate (NC) III from TESDA. The agencies aimed to get all drivers certified by 2013.
The order came amid rising incidents of deadly road mishaps traced mostly to reckless driving.
TESDA also promulgated last year the Training Regulations (TR) for Driving NC II and NC III to provide the minimum standard for the training of drivers of buses, trucks and articulated vehicles.
The TR prescribes the minimum requirement to be complied with by training institutions in terms of curriculum, equipment, facilities, and trainer’s qualifications.
Meanwhile, following months of study, the Department of Labor issued last week Department Order 118-12, which called on bus operators to give fix regular salaries for their drivers instead of basing their pay on the so-called boundary system.
This would fix the working hours of drivers to eight hours a day, giving them adequate rest period so that they do not compromise passenger safety by exceeding working hours.
Veering away from the boundary system would also remove the aim among drivers to compete with each other to get more passengers, at the expense of their passengers’ safety.