Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lady Bus Driver in EDSA

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is planning to deploy lady bus drivers in EDSA to lessen accidents and de-clog traffic in the metro’s main thoroughfare.

Thirteen out of 31 applicants have passed the level 3 national certification by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for heavy-duty vehicles. They are now waiting for bus lines to process their applications.

But aside from the usual job requirements, these ladies are studying how to adjust their nature to this male-dominated field.

“It’s hard to pee. They said we have to learn how to control going on bathroom breaks, especially when we have menstruation,” said Kathleen Magbagos, a 28-year-old single mother.

Bus drivers in the Philippines earn an estimated P600 a day, almost 50% higher than the minimum wage of P404 of private employees in NCR.

This landmark move by MMDA will also help lessen unemployment in the Philippines which hit almost 3 million as of January, 40% of them are women.

According to party-list group Gabriela, Magbagos is just one of the many women who want to prove themselves by taking on a job that is usually done by a male.

Culturally, women are only seen as a reserve labor force. If they can get a man to do the job, they will hire a man. Secondly, there is fear that women will demand a lot from their employers,” said Gabriela secretary general Emmie De Jesus.

According to Gabriela, support from the government is also needed to make the employing of lady bus drivers effective.

“There should be reinforcing supportive mechanisms that will support lady bus drivers and those interested to apply to be lady bus drivers. There should be public education support coming from the MMDA and TESDA. Skill training is not enough, there should also be education on women orientation in society,” De Jesus said.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino was also hoping this move will result in safer streets for the public.
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