Tesda to train bus, truck drivers following rash of road accidents

By Tarra Quismundo
05 JAN 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Following a string of road accidents over the holidays, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has offered to provide technical training and safety reorientation to some 50,000 public utility vehicle drivers nationwide in the next two years.

Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said on Monday the agency had committed to retrain professional drivers around the country following a request from Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus.

“We gave our commitment to provide technical assistance for these drivers,” Villanueva said.

“But I think private operators should also take part in this. They should do their share of educating and training their drivers to guarantee that they can safely ferry their passengers and cargo to their destination,” he said.

Villanueva said Tesda was willing to provide scholarships for some 4,000 drivers but called on the private sector to shoulder the training for the rest, citing the agency’s limited funds.

Tesda has a P2.83-billion budget this year, slightly lower than last year’s P2.89 billion. The budget for scholarships was severely slashed, from P5.6 billion to P700 million.

If the agency were to train all 50,000 drivers, Tesda training centers would have to accommodate 68 drivers every day for the next two years, holidays and weekends included.

Talks between Tesda and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) began in November and the discussions were sealed following the almost daily fatal road accidents on major highways throughout the country.

“The initial DOTC probe showed that 85 percent of road accidents were driver-related. So we welcome this move as part of efforts to safeguard the riding public,” Villanueva said in an interview.

Tesda has an existing 140-hour program for basic driving and safety training of drivers of heavy vehicles, buses and trailer trucks. This certification has become a requirement for Filipinos wishing to go overseas to work as drivers.

The DoTC has proposed to make Tesda certification a requirement for bus and truck drivers plying Metro Manila routes, Villanueva said.


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