MANILA, Philippines – The National Youth Commission has criticized the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for not employing regular workers for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).
The two drivers involved in the recent MRT accident were both contractual workers but have been on the job for six years, according to Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya.
National Youth Commission chairperson Gio Tingson said if the DOTC took care of their workers, the incident could have been prevented.
"The incident could have been averted had the workers received adequate training and support for their jobs," Tingson said.
"Something seems to be amiss," he added.
The DOTC said the MRT mishap, which led to the injuries of more than 30 people, was due to human error.
Two train drivers were suspended by the DOTC and are now facing administrative charges for "gross neglect, inefficiency in the performance of official functions, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of reasonable office rules and regulations."
"But DOTC also neglected the welfare of its employees," said Tingson.
He is calling for the passage of a security of tenure bill, which seeks to guarantee regular compensation and benefits for all Filipino workers.
"Employees, especially in the public sector, must be given regular status and be entitled to the support that they need in fulfillment of their duties to the public," he said.
Tingson urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to reassess its policies in granting plantilla positions to government-hired employees, granting them a permanent status, and a stable source of income.
"Efficiency and better skills are products of regular training and compensation…That way, the public can expect better from our government workers," Tingson said.