DOLE pushes for 'regularized' jeepney drivers

DOLE pushes for 'regularized' jeepney drivers
File photo

WHILE the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is keen on implementing the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now pushing for the regularization of jeepney drivers.

In an interview, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said they are in support of the PUV modernization program if it will result in the full employment of drivers.

"They need to be treated like regular employees who are entitled to labor and social benefits," said Benavidez.

"We support the modernization program as it can change the treatment of drivers by making them regular employees with salaries and are covered by SSS, PhilHealth," he added.

The labor official said such a system is possible as it is already being implemented in the bus sector.

"It has been implemented for bus drivers. They have salaries and commissions. We can just adopt the existing policy for jeepneys," Benavidez said.

He said they are opposed to the current boundary system implemented in the jeepney sector, wherein the driver does not receive a fixed wage but only the excess amount of fares collected by him less the fixed amount he pays to the jeepney owners.

"We don't want the boundary system because the behavior of the driver, the risks it involves, and the long hour of drive makes it unsafe for drivers and riders," said Benavidez.

The DOTr said there will be no more extension of the December 31 deadline for the compliance to the jeepney modernization program.

This is despite repeated appeals and protest actions from drivers and operators calling for more time to comply with the program. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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