TESDA safety retraining of PUV drivers set

14 Jan 2011
Tarra Quismundo

MANILA, Philippines—The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will pilot on Monday its three-day safety retraining of public utility vehicle drivers, the agency chief said.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said the initial batch of bus drivers from provinces plying routes through Metro Manila would undergo the training dry-run under trainers and assessors from the agency and the Philippine Automotive Federation, Inc.

Tagged the SEED (Safety, Economical and Environment-Friendly Driving) program, the retraining aims to serve as a refresher course on both basic and advanced driving competencies and on critical driver's skills, among them maintenance procedure, driving preparation and post-driving procedure, observance of road rules, and accident response procedure.

“What's important is their knowledge, attitude and skills. When they have all that, then can certify them,” Villanueva said.

Following spate of road accidents last month, TESDA initiated the training in heed of a request from the Department of Transportation and Communication for the agency to retrain and assess PUV drivers under its existing specialized driving courses.

Villanueva said the training remains voluntary in the meantime, while the DOTC has yet to finalize regulations making TESDA certification a pre-requisite for PUVs before they could take on the road.

With TESDA's limited funds, the training would cost roughly P2,000 per driver, said Villanueva.

Besides the three-day training, drivers already confident about their skills may go straight to seeking assessment from authorized driving assessors. Villanueva said this step may be undertaken at bus terminals, TESDA training centers and even through TESDA-certified private driving schools.

He, however, expected that at least 80 percent of drivers currently on the road would fail the TESDA assessment, given the quality of their road skills.

“Those who fail the assessment can still drive but they have to go back to training. The certification will be a requirement until such time that DOTC issues memorandum making this a requirement for all bus drivers,” Villanueva said.

TESDA is also working to train more driver's assessors as the agency targets some 50,000 PUV drivers nationwide.

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