The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for bungling the service contracting program. “Service contracting is a great idea but the LTFRB and DoTr bungled its implementation. Similar to the Department of Health (DOH), bad governance, if not massive corruption, attended its execution,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.
Yesterday the LTFRB released a statement belying the Commission on Audit report that only 1% of the funds for service contracting was released to beneficiary drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs). The LTFRB declared that P1.5 billion out of the P5.56 billion service contracting budget under Bayanihan 2 was disbursed.
“If that is true then only 25% of service contracting funds reached 50,000 drivers nationwide. There are already 120,000 transport workers in NCR alone, a conservative estimate based on one worker per PUV. The rest of the funds has been returned to the treasury without benefiting hundreds of thousands of needy and hungry transport workers. This is no different from hospital workers who decried the DOH for not granting hazard pay and benefits to deserving health care workers,” Magtubo added.
Ross Natividad, president of the Yellow Bus Line Employees Union (YBLEU), called on the LTFRB to shape up and respond to the demands of transport workers. YBL plies the South Cotabato to Davao route Mindanao. “It pains us to hear there are billions in funds that have not reached transport workers who are needy and hungry. YBL drivers, conductors, dispatchers and mechanics are becoming desperate since most of them had no regular income for more than a year already,” Natividad said.
He explained that the LTFRB contracted YBL for only two months of “libreng sakay” for APORs and HCWs from May to June 2021. “This was for only 14 buses then 48 buses but YBL has 190 units in total. Thus a majority of YBL workers did not benefit. Still, many of those who were lucky to be onboarded have not received their payouts,” Natividad explained.
He demanded that “We call on the LTFRB and DoTr to exercise tripartism and social dialogue so that it hears the concerns of workers. Only drivers were considered beneficiaries while conductors and other bus workers were not. The union had to negotiate with the company so that conductors can also work under service contracting and receive pay.”
Magtubo averred that “Service contracting must be rebooted. It should go beyond ayuda and libreng sakay as is being implemented now. Service contracting under the PUV Modernization program is a mechanism to formalize and improve the transport industry so that we have sustainable and livable cities. Through service contracting, government ensures the delivery of safe, comfortable and efficient public transport by engaging jeepney cooperatives and bus companies on long-term contracts and mandating regular employment with social protection for transport workers.”
August 19, 2021