MY TWO CENTS’: “Boundary” ends here

MY TWO CENTS’: John Tria

As a former PUV operator, i know that running such a business requires you to understand the “boundary” system. It entails a fixed fee per day as rental that the driver needs to hand in at the end of the agreed upon route.

Unfortunately for drivers, this negates the possibility of other benefits since the jeepney operator contributes his SSS contributions as a self employed individual. Not all operators do that, especially for the “extrador” or substitute drivers.

Of course, we all know that this practice has forced many drivers to linger to fill up passengers at certain destinations, filling up the bus or jeepney, causing traffic and creating bias for certain stops, which prevent them from taking passenger further down their routes. We often hear of drivers using illegal drugs to stay awake to keep driving.

That said, the recent DOLE order disallowing such a practice is a welcome one. The Philippine Star report explains it well:

 “the new compensation scheme, bus drivers and conductors are entitled to a salary not lower than the minimum wage in their respective regions as well as wage-related benefits, such as night shift differential, service incentive leave, 13th month pay, holiday and overtime pay and premium pay.

Bello said bus drivers should also receive performance incentives based on revenue, ridership, safety, specific conditions of routes and other relevant parameters.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission recently issued the guidelines in the implementation of the pay scheme”

This order requires compliance or else operators fsce the cancellation of their franchise. With that, it strengthens the reality of franchises as certificates of public convenience and necessity,  a privilege and not a “right” given to certain favored individuals.

What happens now?

Well, we will need to monitor whether bus companies truly comply with such an order.

We will eventually need to ask drivers whether they receive the right salary and benefits. Operators will need to be aware of their duties as franchisees and as employers.

What this means is that thousands of drivers will now be contributors to the Social Security System, the Philhealth snd Pag Ibig Fund, all pooled funds meant to serve the eventual needs of its members. 

As more social legislation such as Universal Health Care and free state education, VAT discounts and other benefits have been enacted, the additional contributions will help keep these funds strong.

The possible ramifications also include the possibility that the use of bus and jeepney stops can be better enforced, and hopefully, traffic can be reduced.