By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has called on the Senate to look into the Skyway bus accident along with Senator Jinggoy Estrada batting for the institutionalization of fixed monthly salaries and better working conditions for the public utility bus drivers.
A speeding Don Mariano Transit bus fell off the southbound land of the Skyway and crashed on a van below along the South Luzon Expressway in Taguig City around 5 a.m. last December 16, killing at least 18 people.
Last November 18, Marcos filed Senate Resolution 334, seeking an inquiry into the enforcement of a 53-year old rule and legislative policy embodied in the Civil Code, which requires common carriers to always observe extraordinary diligence in the carriage and transport of passengers and goods.
“What is unfortunate is that this kind of senseless death could have been avoided by proper implementation of, or compliance with, basic traffic and transport safety rules,” Marcos said.
He said the inquiry is timely not only because of the Skyway tragedy, but also because of a spate of similar vehicular accidents in the past like the mishap in Maharlika Highway in Atimonan, Quezon, the Cebu marine disaster, and other minor accidents in our airports and runways.
Estrada’s proposal is contained in Senate Bill 1372 or the “Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Program.”
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, he says that under the present boundary and commission-based compensation, bus drivers outdo and compete with each other and with limited working hours in drawing commuting passengers to ensure a decent daily take home pay for the family.
“A simple computation will show that drivers currently earning P900 a day and working more than 12 hours a day for three days a week will receive almost the same income based on the minimum wage for working eight hours a day for six days a week. The difference is that under the proposed act, drivers will get enough rest while operators will spend almost the same amount for salaries,” Said Estrada in the bill’s explanatory note.
Salaries of bus drivers should not be less than the prevailing minimum wage rate and must include benefits and incentives, according to his proposed bill.