Concerned Filipinos back EDSA Bus Carousel drivers’ clamor for release of salaries

February 7, 2022 - 2:17 PM
Photo of transport workers calling for the release of their salaries (Twitter/Walden Bello)

Transport workers on Monday staged a protest in front of the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) office to call for the release of their salaries.

Based on reports, a group of bus drivers and operators gathered in front of the LTFRB office in East Avenue in Quezon City to demand the release of their salaries for their services rendered through the EDSA Bus Carousel.

Running mates for the presidency and vice presidency Leody de Guzman and Walden Bello reportedly joined the movement.

Bello tweeted that the unpaid wages accumulated to P20 million already.

“Ngayong umaga, kasama natin ang mga driver at konduktor ng mga bus ng EDSA Carousel sa kanilang kilos-protesta sa harap ng LTFRB. Anim na buwan nang naghihintay ng kumpletong sahod ang ating mga frontliner – dapat ilabas na ang ₱20 milyon!” Bello said.

The group of protesters is called the Alliance of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations (AGUILA).

In a statement on Facebook, Antonio Fulgado, their spokesperson, said that drivers and operators from companies who service through the EDSA Carousel were among those who participated in the protest.

These companies are ES Transport, Kellen Transport, Jell Transport and Earthstar Transport.

“Kulang kulang ang pinapasahod sa kanila mula Mayo 2021 sa programang Libreng Sakay ng LTFRB. Naka-ilang dialogue na pero pinagpapasahan ng LTFRB at kapitalista kung nakanino ba talaga ang pera na pampasahod dapat sa mga driver at konduktor,” Fulgado said.

Call for help

Youth and transportation advocate Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña previously shared a video message from AGUILA on Twitter.

“Nananawagan kami na kami ay suportahan niyo para ilantad ang bulok na sistema ng gobyerno na ‘yan at itigil ang panggigipit sa mga manggagawa,” one of the workers in the video said.

When the video circulated on the micro-blogging platform, Twitter users were alarmed by the transport group’s clamor.

They also shared how they benefited from the EDSA Carousel free rides before.

“Naur! Nakakalungkot naman, sila yung nasakyan ko ng libre papunta at pabalik galing MOA. Dasurv nila mabayaran agad,” one Twitter user said with a pleading emoji.

Award-winning author Gina Apostol also joined them in their call for help.

“Help for transport workers on EDSA. The LTFRB owes them almost 20 million pesos,” Apostol tweeted.

Apostol is known for her novels “Insurrecto: A Novel” and “Gun Dealers’ Daughter” which won her the PEN/Open Book Award in 2013.

One Twitter user, on the other hand, remembered the delayed hazard pay for health care workers.

“Delayed na nga sahod and Hazard pay ng Health Care Workers, pati ba naman sa mga Transport Workers. Nakakagalit lang!” the Twitter user commented.

EDSA Carousel Bus system

The EDSA Carousel Bus System is an initiative of the Department of Transportation that comprises specific bus routes and lanes along EDSA.

It was opened in June 2020 to help ferry workers amid the still limited public transportation options at that time.

Early last year, the DOTr also launched free bus rides via the carousel routes.

The initiative was launched to aid the limited capacity of the MRT-3, which is allowed to run during that period, and decongest the traffic along EDSA as well.

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