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MANILA - Over 5,000 bus drivers and conductors in Metro Manila now receive regular pay and are covered by health insurance and other benefits, as 41 bus companies comply with the Department of Labor and Employment’s two-tier wage system, DOLE said in a news release.
“Before, majority of the bus drivers are paid purely on commission. This forces them to work long hours and to compete with each other for passengers, which often results in road accidents and traffic violations. We couldn’t be happier that this system is slowly, albeit, surely changing with Department Order 118-12," Baldoz said.
DO 118-12 mandates a “two-tier wage system” for bus drivers and conductors, whereby bus companies must pay their drivers and conductors a part-fixed and part-performance-based compensation, instead of pay based solely on the so-called boundary or commission system.
Under the order, bus firms must ensure the occupational safety and health (OSH) of bus drivers and conductors through compliance with OSH standards and other DOLE-related issuances on the prevention and control of tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, hepatitis B, and drugs in the workplace.
The order mandates the payment of social protection benefits accorded by law to regular workers, including PhilHealth, Social Security System, PagIbig, and other wage-related benefits. It also guarantees drivers' and conductors' security of tenure and rights to self-organization, among other labor rights.
Under DO 118-12, also known as the “Rules and Regulations Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Drivers and Conductors in the Public Utility Bus Transport Industry,” DOLE has issued 41 labor standards compliance certificates (LSCC), Baldoz said.
Citing the update report of Regional Director Alan Macaraya of DOLE-Metro Manila, Baldoz said this compliance means 2,941 bus drivers and 2,671 bus conductors are protected.
"The certificates cover 2,268 bus units and 206 bus franchises," Baldoz added, noting that many more bus firms are undergoing voluntary compliance with DO 118-12.
With the full implementation of DO 118-12, the DOLE fielded inspection teams to assess the bus companies' compliance.
The Occupational Safety and Health Center, a DOLE attached agency, also conducted a free basic occupational safety and health (BOSH) training for 117 designated safety officers of 113 bus companies.
During the BOSH training in July, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) held a brief orientation on its assessment and certification process for bus drivers prior to its conduct of assessment and certification under a "use-your-own-bus" system. The TESDA announced it would prioritize for assessment and certification 10,662 drivers of 166 PUB companies plying Metro Manila routes. To date, the TESDA has certified 3,540 drivers nationwide.
Compliant bus companies
The following are the bus companies that have been issued the certificates: Safeway Bus Lines Inc.; Franvill Transit Inc.; Victory Liner; Armi Josh Transport; Astroliner Inc.; Newman Gold Liner Inc.; Paña Bus Liner; Luzon Buz Inc.; Original Transport Service & Multi-cooperative; Everlasting Transport Co.; Guardian Angels Bus Line Inc.; Santrans Inc.; Diamond Star Lines Corp.; Shem Transport; Kelly Transport; Princess Youhan & Chrisa Transport; Viofel Transport Inc.; Universal Guiding Star Bus Line Corp.; WLH Transit; Don Mariano Transit Corp.;
Fermina Express Corp.; Admiral Transit Corp.; Nova Auto Transport Inc.; Severino Santos Transit; Alabang Transport Service Cooperative; Hi-Star Transport Inc.; VIL 5000 Inc.; City Link Coach Services Inc.; Pascual Liner Inc.; Bus Operator Transport Service Cooperative; Bensan Trans Corporation; San Agustin Transport Service Corp.; Tas Trans Corporation; St. Anthony of Padua Transport System Inc.; Bagong Silang Transport Service and Multi-purpose Cooperative; Nicholas Albert Transport; Pitbull Transport Corp.; Nafti Multi-purpose Cooperative; Reinalyn Bus Line Corp; and N.S. Transport Services Inc.
Baldoz observed that the growing number of bus firms with LSCCs "shows how determined the DOLE is in improving the working conditions in the bus transport sector and in ensuring workplace safety and health its drivers and conductors.”
DOLE inspection teams will re-inspect those bus companies already inspected to validate the re-entry plans of their safety officer-designates to ensure that OSH standards are already in place and are being implemented, Baldoz said.
"However, bus companies have the option to visit the DOLE and submit their re-entry plans," she added, saying that the OSHC templates which can be used as a guide for voluntary assessment of the bus companies' OSHC plans have been uploaded at the DOLE-NCR website, at http://ncr.dole.gov.ph/index.php.
Compliance required for franchise renewal
The labor and employment chief reminded bus firms to expedite their acquisition of LSCCs, since the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) would require it for franchise renewal.
The LTFRB established the requirement through Memorandum Circular 2012-001, which it issued last January shortly after the DOLE conducted a rapid survey of bus drivers, conductors, and operators on the working conditions and compensation schemes in the bus transport sector. It issued the circular to ensure road transport safety and to link labor standards compliance with franchise regulation.
Toward this end, Baldoz announced the hotline numbers of the DOLE National Capital Region which the public can contact with regards the implementation of DO 118-12 and its operating guidelines. The telephone numbers are those of DOLE NCR Assistant Regional Director Benjo Benavidez, 400-3918; and DOLE NCR Technical Services and Support Division, 310-4071.