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MMDA backs DOLE on fixed wages for bus drivers

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino expressed support on Thursday for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and hope for the steadfast implementation of its Department Order No. 118-12 requiring operators to give fixed salaries and appropriate benefits to bus drivers and conductors.

The MMDA chief made the move after four associations of bus operators asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to nullify the DOLE order.

“DOLE is on the right track in providing bus drivers and conductors with fixed wages. This is a long overdue measure that will eventually lessen the number of bus-related accidents not only in Metro Manila, but in the rest of the country as well. By looking after our drivers and conductors, we are looking after the commuting public,” Tolentino said.

The Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association Inc., Inter-City Bus Operators Association, and the City of San Jose Del Monte Bus Operators Association jointly filed before the SC their opposition to the DOLE D.O. No. 118-12 on "the ground that it shall cause a breach of the employer-employee contract."

Tolentino averred that the existence of employer-employee relationship is determined by law and cannot be negated by any contract.

He said the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall afford full protection to labor and guarantees the right of workers to humane conditions of work and a living wage.

He noted that the Supreme Court, in several cases, upheld the status of bus drivers as regular employees. They are, therefore, entitled to minimum wage and other benefits, he said.

“Due to the recent high incidence of road accidents brought about by bad weather, it is high time to implement the said order that will do away with the 'boundary system.' Ultimately, we expect lesser bus-related accidents as bus drivers earning fixed salaries will now focus more on safety,” Tolentino stressed.

MMDA records show bus-related incidents in Metro Manila totalled 5,103 in 2009, 6,749 in 2010, and 6,176 in 2011.

by: PNA




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