‘Boundary’ era ends for bus drivers in NCR
DOLE enforces new pay system todayBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It may be considered the end of an era on Metro Manila roads, one that is partly blamed for the undisciplined behavior of drivers in the public transport sector.
The government will begin implementing today a “two-tier” system that would set fixed wages for bus drivers and conductors in the National Capital Region (NCR).
It will do away with the so-called “boundary” system wherein a driver’s earnings for the day depend on what’s left after giving a specific amount to the owner of the vehicle he drives. It is often seen as a factor why bus (and also jeepney) drivers commit traffic violations—from overspeeding to overstaying at stops—in order to get as many passengers as they can.
Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Saturday said she had no intention of deferring the enforcement of Department Order 118-12, which would cover more than 20,000 bus drivers and conductors.
For passengers’ safety
“We have the political will and the support of our tripartite partners, as well as of the bus transport sector, to fully and effectively implement (the order) starting July 1 because this is for the health and welfare of bus drivers and conductors and for the comfort and safety of bus passengers,” Baldoz said in a statement.
“This is for the public good and interest. We have already moved past the discussion stage about this new system for the last six months. We are now in the implementation mode,” she added.
The order calls for the adoption of a “part-fixed, part-performance-based compensation scheme” for bus drivers and conductors.
The fixed payment scheme sets a minimum wage, while the performance-based payment will be on a rate mutually agreed upon by the operators and the workers.
“On the first week of July, a composite team headed by DOLE-NCR … will begin the inspection of the workplaces of the 158 bus companies to determine their level of compliance,” Baldoz said.
She said the 158 bus companies have a combined total of 5,238 bus units involving 10,476 bus drivers and a similar number of conductors.
Baldoz said these companies were earlier assessed and audited and offered technical assistance to enable them to comply with the order’s provisions.
“We have even provided them templates of employment agreements and taught them the modes and methods of computing the fixed-part and the performance-based part of the compensation,” she said.
Under the new wage system, the drivers and conductors “should not earn lower than what they presently receive under the straight commission-basis. This is following the nondiminution principle,” she explained.
The order also calls for company safety and health programs, including measures against smoking, drugs, and the spread of AIDS, as well as antisexual harassment and disaster risk-reduction programs.