In global scope and Philippine setting in particular, large portion of the labor forces are exploited with little privileges in employment. To be exact, among some according to the nature of their jobs like security guards and household helpers, drivers belong to the working sector whose low status in life are taken advantage of and abused by employers. In our human narrative, the role players and employers are known local politicians noted for insensitivity to the needs and feelings of their personal and official drivers.
These political personalities in high offices are common in demonstration of inhuman character as far as treatment of their drivers is concerned. We trace their roots to the northern town of Pandan. According to heirarchy, the first specimen of near cruelty to his drivers is a former occupant of the highest political post in the island.
Oca, his former driver has experienced such predicament he personally lamented to this writer who happened to be his close kin. Manoy Oca told me days and nights didn’t make any difference that in the course of his boss’ attending to personal and official functions, he felt intense mental and physical inconvenience and neglect of gastronomic needs.
The condition is unimaginable and unbearable from early until late evenings that while his boss is in social functions, he is in the car and hungry for undetermined length of time until wee hours with mosquitos feasting on his blood. Oca who does not hide sentiments frankly told his employer “ Ona Sir, kun pabayaan mo akong gutom kasabay nin pag-supsop nin namok nin akong dugo buda ikaw pasiram siram sa meeting, babayaan ta ka”. True to his words, Oca got lost and was no longer seen in the company of his boss. A Pandananon on basis of the place his mother was born and grew up until she migrated to Manila and married a wealthy Singaporean, a former mayor and member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan also caused the misfortune of a man who just wanted to make a living but suffering became a pattern of daily life.
Jess, the driver, hails from Batong Paluway where the image of the Lady of Sorrow equates with hardship in life he had to bear in the hands of a cruel employer whose neglect expands from low salaries to inadequacy in the provision of basic needs He plunged the SUV he was driving to a ricefield in calculated maneuver to avoid serious damage to his body and justify his escape from employment that brought more harm than good.
The third character in our tale of cruelty of employers to drivers is a loser in the last election as candidate for board member in the west district. For the past years, he was a municipal councilor in concurrent capacity as board member owing to political benefactors who manipulated his winning the election for president of the Provincial Councilors League chapter in the island. He thinks that being a fixture in the SP is a caprice so thar without official designation and with undefined position, he occupied the Leandro Verceles, Sr. Memorial Library in the legislative building with a known drug addict from Barangay Esperanza in San Andres providing security all day long.
The self-appointed librarian as employees at the SP grudgingly address him had a driver for a short period popularly called “Bulaw” who could not wait telling any one who cared to listen that the bald bad man had caused a lot of misery to his life.
The amazing part of the story Balaw could not wait to tell friends was parties and other social events with lots to eat and drink and great music his boss enjoyed but forgot his driver was left in the car imagining he was inside. The bad things did not end after parties as the bald man dropped by hours in the house of his kerida with Bulaw waiting outside in cold nights before driving his boss home to a somewhat wealthy wife of the age of his mother which he married for convenience.
Our narrative is just a fraction of the sad fate in employment of drivers of supposedly public servants who live the life of kings at the expense of people they are sworn to serve. But amid cruel society and government, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vice-governor Cua’s drivers live comfortably in a different world. Christopher who drives the back up car of the vice-governor has served the Cua family all his life of employment. He suffers from speech defect and the public hardly gets his message but Boss Te easily understands Christopher’s language due to long association between driver and more of a brother and father than an employer.
Christopher has financially stable brothers and sisters in Manila who have long been urging him to live in comfort with them but he chooses to stay with Boss Te for obvious reasons. Joe who drives the main car feels convenient in maintaining normal functions of organs with regular injection of insulin provided free and “without delay” by the vice-governor. The kindness and generosity of a few like Vice-governor Boss Te rises above the normal course of events that transcend to high hopes for a better society and government.