Legazpi City- The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. V (Bicol) started its consultation and massive advocacy campaign dubbed as “TSU-KO BIBO or Tsuper-Konduktor ng Bus sa Bicol ay Bibo” last week to solicit reactions on the implementation of DOLE Department Order Number (DO No.) 118-12 which specifies new rules covering the pay and working hours of drivers and conductors of public buses to take effect on 1 July 2012.
“This is just the first wave. Our strategy is, first, to solicit the support of the operators to follow the rules specified in the new DO. Then we shall conduct a separate orientation exclusive for bus drivers and conductors,” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra explained over a live broadcast interview on 7 June.
The TSU-KO BIBO Campaign started with a simultaneous half-day orientation on the provisions of the new DO No. 118-12 for operators and owners of bus companies on 31 May in separate venues in Legazpi and Naga City. The orientation in Legazpi City was held at the Lacambra Hall of the DOLE regional office and was attended by 42 bus operators-owners coming from the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Legazpi while the orientation in Naga City was held at the Naga Youth Center which was attended by 19 operators-owners from the province of Camarines Sur and Norte. A separate date for a similar orientation was scheduled for the operators-owners from the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. Another wave of orientation is slated on 6 June 2012 at Iriga City.
Renol Barcebal, Operations Manager of the Tabaco Womens Transit Cooperative (TAWTRASCO), in an interview during the orientation said that issuance of DO No. 118-12 is high time in order to protect the welfare not just of the bus drivers and conductors but as well as the riding public. However, he added that a regional consultation should have been made first before the issuance of the DO.
“Some of the provisions of the DO may not be applicable here. Our roads, busses and drivers are practically safer. Sana iba ang treatment sa probinsya. Tapos medyo nakakalito yun pag-computer buti na lang at libre daw magpatulong sa DOLE at Wage Board” He stressed.
Aside from the simultaneous orientation, the regional office also facilitated the production and distribution of around 600 pieces flyer regarding the salient provisions of DO 118-12 which was translated in the tagalong vernacular, which were distributed t the bus operators who attended the orientations and to the drivers and conductors in nearby bus terminals. The flyer presents frequently asked questions about DO No. 118-12.
“We needed to produce a material that is easy to understand by the operators and most especially by the drivers. It’s actually a Q & A type flyer. It is also cheaper to produce rather than distributing the 8 page copies of DO No. 118-12, “ Lacambra added.
DO No. 118-12 was signed by the Hon. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz which must be implemented on 1 July nationwide. The new DO was crafted in order to eliminate, if not minimize, vehicular accidents due to reckless driving related to the labor standards benefits of drivers and conductors such as working hours, minimum wage, overtime pay, night shift differential, holiday & premium pay and 13th month pay.
“The idea is that if drivers and conductors have a steady source of daily income then they will be more safety conscious, careful and defensive in their driving thus preventing accidents.” Lacambra explained.
Aside from the minimum fixed daily wage, the DO also grants the drivers-conductors-operators a performance based wage. The performance based wage will be based on safety criteria such as no accidents, no engine breakdown, no traffic violation, etc. If the bus comes home safe with no accidents or traffic violation, the drivers and conductors will receive additional incentives. But if the bus encounters an accident or a traffic violation the incentive will be less.
The DO also grants drivers and conductors leave benefits with pay such as the 5-day per year service incentive leave, maternity & paternity leave, solo-parent leave, leave for women who undergone gynecological disorders and leave for victims of violence against women and children (VAWC).
DOLE asst. reg. director Exequiel Ronnie A. Guzman said that one of the provisions of DO No. 118-12 is the issuance of a DOLE Clearance to bus operators and owners which is needed in renewing the operator’s LTFRB Franchise. However, in order for the operators & owners to get a DOLE clearance, they (operators) must submit to the DOLE & the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) an Employment Agreement signed by the drivers/conductors and operators.
The employment agreement, which is pro-forma designed by DOLE, must enumerate the drivers/conductors name, address, birthday, age, status, SSS, Philhealth and HDMF numbers and contribution, pay arrangement and agreed day-off.
“Well at first look, this documentary requirements might seem difficult to accomplish but actually it is not. The operators can actually request the DOLE and RTWPB to help them in accomplishing this.” ARD Guzman added.
ARD Guzman reiterates that both the operators and drives can seek the help of the DOLE Regional Office and its Provincial Offices and RTWPB V in determining their compensation based scheme to be submitted for the approval of RTWPB-V.
“For more details and assistance regarding the new DO and the “TSU-KO BIBO” advocacy program you may contact our office at (052) 480-5830 and look for RD Nathaniel V. Lacambra and ARD Ronnie Guzman or call RTWPB at (0520 820-6692 and look for Board Secretary Mr. Rosendo D. Belo,” ARD Guzman assured. - fin