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An ‘academy’ for drivers

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo April 08,2017 - 10:56 PM


Drivers graduate from the two-day session under the Driver’s Academy program of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Central Visayas.

Not many know that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is also in the business of training and retraining public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers to become better in their profession.

The initiative is called “Driver’s Academy,” a two-day session attended by at least 60 drivers that gives them lessons on values formation, customer courtesy and traffic rules.

The “academy” is held twice a month and has been implemented in the region since March 2015, said LTFRB Central Visayas Director Ahmed Cuizon.

“It is not a complete assurance that everyone will change their attitude after attending the sessions. But we hope to lessen the number of complaints, the number of violations reported in our office by having these sessions,” he said.

Cuizon said there are an estimated 30,000 PUVs in Cebu, which brings the number of drivers to at least 60,000 individuals if there are two shifts in one day.

Cuizon said the academy was first implemented in Cagayan Valley (Region 2). Seeing the impact that this value-added service the LTFRB can extend to drivers, Cuizon carried out the Central Visayas version of the academy in Cebu.


More than knowledge of the law and skills in driving, the Driver’s Academy is a refresher course on the values of courtesy, respect and patience.

“Your unit is your office, so take very good care of it. Your job is a very sacred matter. It is a gift and calling from God,” said LTFRB spiritual adviser Seigfred Verdeflor, who delivered the module on values formation during the Batch 48 session.

Verdeflor reminded the participants to be honest to their wives and to be constantly grateful for the blessings they received.

“There are many of us who are not contented with what we have. That is why we tend to cheat our passengers by overcharging them or by being rude to them,” he said.

Taxi driver Edwin Dagatan, 39, said the academy gives drivers a break from the daily grind and the opportunity to receive free lessons and upgrades on franchise laws and regulations.

Dagatan was a delivery boy and a family driver for more than 10 years before he took on the job of a taxi driver in 2014.
“When you are honest and good in your job as a taxi driver, the money will be there. You don’t have to wait for 15 days to claim your salary,” Dagatan said in the vernacular.


A total of 3,205 drivers have attended the Driver’s Academy since the sessions started two years ago in Central Visayas, said LTFRB-7 assistant information officer Emil Membrillas.

There are already 54 batches, with at least 60 drivers per batch, as of April 5, 2017.

Membrillas said several subjects are tackled including safety tips before departure, basic diesel engine troubleshooting and common mistakes made by smart drivers. There are dedicated speakers on substance abuse and human trafficking.

“Your license is a privilege, so take good care of it and use it wisely,” Membrillas told drivers.


A new component of the academy is to invite commuters to share their thoughts and observations to the drivers, opening an informal dialogue between passengers and drivers, said Cuizon.

Former furniture company employee Agnes Sabaldan, who gave a commuter’s perspective during the Batch 54 session, told the taxi drives to keep up with the maintenance and cleanliness of their vehicles and the way they present themselves.

Otherwise, they will be left behind by the drivers of Uber and Grab.

“There were drivers who were laughing and smiling — meaning they are guilty of what I told them,” said Sabaldan, who experienced being refused by a taxi driver when she told him her destination.

Sabaldan, 54, outlined common complaints of passengers such as dilapidated seats, rude drivers and violation of traffic rules.

“The atmosphere was more on storytelling on my part. Their reactions were not hostile. … The drivers suggested that it would be good if LTFRB will also conduct a dialogue between the operators and commuters so that the operators can hear the complaints straight from the horse’s mouth,” she said.

To Dagatan, his profession as a driver means practicing the values of patience and good customer service as he is in the forefront of providing convenience to the riding public.

“Passengers have different temperaments. It’s true that there are times that I encounter bad ones especially those who are inconsiderate and very demanding. I just have to talk to them patiently, and if they don’t listen, then it’s not my problem anymore,” he said.

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TAGS: academy, Central, drivers, LTFRB, transportation, Visayas

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