Admitting that the Don Mariano Transit Corporation–one of whose buses plunged to the ground after it skidded on and rammed through the railing of the South Luzon Toll Skyway yesterday, killing 22 bus passengers–has an expired Labor Standards  Compliance Certificate, or LSCC, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she had instructed DOLE National Capital Region Director Alex Avila to conduct immediate assessment and inspection of the bus company and  include in the priority list of ‘inspectionable’ establishments in January 2014 bus companies that had been issued LSCC to ensure their continued and sustained compliance with the requirements of Department Order No. 118-A and its operational guidelines.

“Don Mariano Transit Corporation is covered by D.O. 118-A. It was last inspected on 3 July 2012, and issued a Labor Standards Compliance Certificate by the DOLE on 17 July 2012. It has an expired LSCC and has not renewed its application,” said Baldoz who yesterday received the results of the initial accident report from Director Avila.

The bus company, which plies the Baclaran-Novaliches route via EDSA, Mindanao Avenue, and Quirino Avenue, has 78 buses, 79 bus drivers, and 107 conductors, and seven CPCs, or Certificate of Public Convenience.

Baldoz said that in the National Capital Region, the DOLE has issued LSCCs to 78 bus companies with a combined fleet of 3,561 buses and 385 CPCs, and employing 3,927 drivers and 3,632 conductors.

On 13 January 2012, Secretary Baldoz issued D.O. 118-12 Series of 2012 pursuant to the provision of Article 5 of the Labor Code to ensure the protection and welfare of drivers and conductors employed in the public utility bus transport industry.

D.O. 118-12, known as the Rules and Regulations Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Drivers and Conductors in the Public Utility Bus Transport Industry institutes major reforms in the terms and conditions of employment of bus drivers and conductors, requiring written employment agreement for drivers and conductors; and providing them standard employment benefits, such as minimum wages, holiday pay, rest day, overtime pay, night shift differential, paid service incentive leave, 13th month pay, paid leaves, and retirement pay.

The department order also specifies the hours of work of drivers and conductors and provides them security of tenure, as well as the fixed and performance-based compensation scheme and occupational safety and health and social protection benefits.

The order vests enforcement of the minimum wages, wage-related benefits, hours of work and occupational safety and health standards with the appropriate DOLE regional office, and mandates the DOLE to coordinate with the Land Transport Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the matter for appropriate action, including possible cancellation of franchise after due process.

“Our main aim with D.O. 118-12 is to ensure passenger safety in bus transport, and also to enhance the well-being and health of bus drivers and conductors,” said Baldoz.

“So in January, when implementation of our Labor Law Compliance System resumes, we will see to it that bus companies are fully compliant. We will also coordinate with the LTFRB to ensure that only those bus companies with labor standards compliance certificates are issued CPCs,” she added.

END

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