Some ‘Libreng Sakay’ bus drivers left unpaid, sacked

Some âLibreng Sakayâ bus drivers left unpaid, sacked
Jeepney drivers on June 25, 2020 check their engine at Tandang Sora Jeepney Terminal in Quezon City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — There some drivers who were part of the government’s “Libreng Sakay” initiative left unpaid and sacked from their jobs for demanding wages.

Buklod ng Manggagawa sa ES Transport pesident Joji Vizconde Jr. said the employees were owed P20 million in 2021, and that only a few drivers were paid their salary.

“Simula nung February, nag-ingay kami para sa sahod. Hindi pa rin nabibigay lahat, may mga utang pa at ang kapalit ay tinanggal kami sa trabaho hanggang ngayon,” Vizconde Jr. said in an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel’s “The Rundown” on Wednesday.

(Beginning February, we have been protesting to get our salary. They still have not distributed to everyone, some have yet to be paid and in exchange for protesting, we were sacked.)

Vizconde said their operators went after the officers of their labor unions first before firing all their members.

Their case has yet to be resolved at proceedings by the Department of Labor and Employment because the owner of their company refuses to cooperate.

The “Libreng Sakay” program, a project that offers commuters free rides, will be extended even after President Rodrigo Dutere’s term.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Martin Delgra II said P7 billion has been earmarked for the program.

However, drivers are said to be being bled dry after working all day but still fail to make ends meet or not earning anything at all as fuel prices continue rise.

Vizconde said they have reached out to the DOLE and to Sen. Grace Poe, among others, for help.

“Ano yung nararapat naming gawin talaga? Lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno tinutukan namin, pero parang nagbubulag-bulagan, nagbibingihan sa mga hinaing ng mga manggagawang nasa transport sector,” he said.

(What should we really do? We have our eyes on all government agencies but it seems like they are pretending to not see or hear concerns of those working in the transport sector.) — Kaycee Valmonte




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