Estrada proposes fixed salaries, hours for PUB drivers

Senator Jinggoy Estrada has proposed a measure seeking operators to grant drivers and conductors fixed salaries and working hours to help them cope with the growing fuel cost.

Estrada’s Senate Bill 48, also known as the proposed Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Act, said operators would spend nearly the same amount on salaries while drivers would get enough rest.

“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,” he said.

The solon further emphasized that with the assurance of fixed salaries regularly, public utility bus (PUB) drivers and conductors would no longer be pressured or forced to work beyond humane working hours.

Additionally, he claimed that doing so would significantly reduce the number of serious accidents and traffic issues involving those buses.

The lawmaker’s bill made clear that PUB drivers could not be required to drive for more than eight hours nonstop, that there should be a two-shift arrangement, and that there should be at least one hour of rest every working day.

Furthermore, Estrada underscored that the monthly salary of PUB drivers and conductors must not be less than the legally mandated minimum wage and must be paid in cash at least once every two weeks. He said drivers and conductors must also be given the advantages and incentives outlined in the Labor Code and associated regulations.

Estrada noted that 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker proposed that PUV drivers be covered by the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG, and Employees Compensation Commission to improve their standard of living.

He continued that a livelihood and credit assistance would also help supplement their family’s income.

Under Estrada’s Senate Bill 289, or the proposed Comprehensive Assistance Program for Public Utility Vehicle Drivers Act, PUV operators must pay the equivalent of the monthly contribution paid by PUV drivers in the aforementioned social welfare services.

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

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