LTFRB, transport consortium deny alleged collusion over drivers’ unpaid salaries | Inquirer News

LTFRB, transport consortium deny alleged collusion over drivers’ unpaid salaries

/ 05:00 PM February 07, 2022
The LTFRB and a transport consortium on Monday denied collusion allegations after drivers held protest actions over unpaid salaries.

Facade of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and a transport consortium on Monday denied collusion allegations after drivers held protest actions over unpaid salaries.

A group of drivers under ES Consortium claimed that they have not been paid since May 2021, which would now amount to around P20 million.

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The supposed salaries were sourced from the funds for the Service Contracting Program, a government initiative wherein drivers are given incentives based on the number of trips they made per week.

“We would also like to emphasize po ‘no ‘yung sinasabi na may sabwatan po ang LTFRB at mga consortium. We vehemently deny such accusations po dahil sinasabi po natin, sa LTFRB kapag meron pong pormal na reklamo na ilalahad at ihahain sa ating ahensya po with regard to issues on salary ay ito po ay agad-agad po nating tutugunan po sa LTFRB,” the agency’s Executive Director Tina Cassion said in a virtual press conference.

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(We would also like to emphasize the alleged collusion between the LTFRB and consortiums. We vehemently deny such accusations because if there is a formal complaint filed in our agency with regard to issues on salary, we address it immediately.)

“On the part of ES consortium wherein ES Transport is also a member regarding po sa [their] statement that there is a collusion between government and transport operators, we deny that po kasi [because] right now we are continuous—LTFRB is continuously releasing our payouts. Likewise din po continuous din po ang aming release ng payout [our payout release is continuous],” echoed Ritchie Manuel, ES Consortium’s operations manager.

Antonio Fulgado, spokesperson of Alliance of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations (Aguila), the group that staged the protest, said that the affected drivers just wanted to know where did the budget for their unpaid salaries go.

“Kami po ay nagsagawa ng kilos protesta hindi para siraan anumang ahensya ng gobyerno o sinumang personahe. We would like to ask someone especially the agency of the government na malaman lang namin kung ano ba talaga yung dahilan,” he lamented.

(We conducted a protest action not to put any government agency or person in a bad light. We would like to ask someone, especially the agency of the government, to know the reason.)

“Ano yung dahilan nila bakit ‘di pa nila nababayaran yung mga manggagawa? Ganu’n lang naman po kami kasimple. Kasi po araw-araw nagtatrabaho po kami. Hindi po kami lumiliban, inuutusan kami. Napakahirap naman po. Wala na rin kaming panggastos. Baliktarin kaya natin sila ‘yung ‘wag na lang bigyan ng pondo ng gobyerno? ‘Di ba ganu’n din naman, ititigil din nila ‘yung kanilang negosyo?,” questioned Fulgado.

(What is the reason why they have not paid the workers? It is that simple. Everyday, we work. We are not absent. It is difficult. We do not have money for our expenses. How about we put it the other way around, let’s not give them government funds? They will have to stop their businesses.)

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ES Consortium then admitted that there were certain delays in the disbursement of the payout.

“The payment has to go through our process of auditing and collecting of cash advances that our drivers have already availed of that is why there is a slight delay but again like we have mentioned, our releasing is continuous,” Manuel said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Also, during the pandemic, during the previous heightening to Alert Level 3 for the quarantine period, we had skeletal duty for our group so that is the reason why the release is little by little,” he further explained.

Meanwhile, LTFRB National Capital Region Director Zona Tamayo said that the issue of the drivers should be raised to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as it is a labor concern.

“The question on hindi pagbabayad ng sweldo (unpaid salaries) is actually as mentioned by ED Cassion is a labor issue.  Whether po may service contracting o wala, obligasyon po ng ating employers like the bus operators na swelduhan ho ang kanilang employees or the bus drivers. Hindi po siya nakadepende kung may service contracting or nabayaran or hindi,” she pointed out.

(Whether there is a service contract or none, it is the obligation of employers like bus operators to compensate them. It does not depend if there is a service contract.)

“If the drivers, as they claimed, are not being paid then they have to go to DOLE to file the appropriate complaint,” she added.

The group said that they already filed a complaint and the next mediation hearing will be on February 9. Jericho Zafra, INQUIRER.net trainee

JPV
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TAGS: Alliance of General Unions Institutions and Labor Associations, DOLE, drivers, Employment, ES Consortium, LTFRB, operators, salary, service contracting program, Tina Cassion, Transport, Zona Tamayo
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