Why the Philippines is Poor 3: Jeepney Driver vs Factory Worker | Who is Better Financially

Why the Philippines is Poor” is a feature section by Pinoyobserver.com that discusses topics and reasons why many Filipinos remains in poverty. To see our complete and regularly updated stories under this section, please visit the category homepage.  While this story is real, we used fictional names in this article to protect the interests of concerned individuals.

In Batangas, a regular assembly operator in a manufacturing company under a PEZA-controlled environment earns two to three times lower than that earned by jeepney drivers yet, many factory workers have established lives years later than jeepney drivers. This article explains why this is happening and how working environment affects our daily financial life.

I worked in manufacturing company in Batangas for nine straight years holding different middle-management positions before I decided to call it quits, and built my own auto shop business. While running my business, I observed how jeepney drivers managed their finances as opposed to the people under my supervision before – the factory workers.

Factory Workers

A regular factory worker (production operator) in a Japanese manufacturing company in Batangas receives a daily salary of at least P267/day. With two to three hours overtime and less all deductions (SSS,Pag-Ibig fund,  Philhealth, taxes), he can have a take home pay of at least P4,500 every 15 days.

For a father whose wife is jobless and has one child, receiving P9,000 a month is a survival condition. This is the reason why most newly-wed couple decide to stay in either of their parents until both of them gets a job.

If both husband and wife have a job and receiving at least P3,000 each per fifteen days, this is already a good condition especially if they are still living under their parents’ roof.

Jeepney Drivers

A jeepney driver having a Calamba-Tanauan-Lipa route usually takes home at least P700 a day net after boundary and fuel. In most cases, a driver will not go home until he bring home at least P800. Others set their daily income to P1,000.

Assuming that a driver takes home P700 every day, a monthly income of P18,200 is easy considering that he does not pay income tax, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig (unless he takes care of everything under a self-employed status).

So, even if the driver’s wife is unemployed and having one child, the driver’s earning is still beyond his means when compared to a couple who both works in a manufacturing firm.

Working 8 to 12 hours a day, the couple can take home a maximum of P8,500 in two weeks (wife cannot stay in overtime all the time like her husband), while the jeepney driver can earn at least 9,100.


Whether it is customary or tradition, it is normal that employed people, regardless of their salary have always debt to pay. Factory workers have some debts to pay come pay days.

During paydays, a factory worker may go to grocery store and buy his needs based on his budget. He buys only things that he can afford and he can use until his next payday, so his finances is somewhat controlled.

During my time in manufacturing, I always list all the things that I need a couple of days before the pay day. I also advised most of my subordinates to do the same to avoid over expenses that may lead to uncontrolled debts, and pawning of ATM cards to lending companies.

In short, expenses of factory workers are always controlled because they can only have time to spend during paydays and weekdays, and have limited funds to do so.

On the other hand, I can’t say the same to most jeepney drivers.

While operating my auto-repair shop, I meet hundreds of jeepney drivers who brought their vehicles to my shop for repair. The sentiments are always the same. They always complain of low earning despite taking home at least P700 a day.

What’s the problem?

Factory workers are at least high school graduates. Jeepney drivers have no educational requirement. As long as one holds a Professional Driver’s License, he can handle the jeepney’s steering wheel.

Money inside one’s pocket is hot, especially if the person expects that he can earn anytime – the spending has no control.

There are many times that a jeepney driver stops over at café spending P50 in the morning, spend another P60 at lunch time, spend another P50 during afternoon, and so on. Since he has the money in his pocket, the spending is endless. He may take home P700 every day, but his wife is also waiting for him so she can pay other debts incurred every day. His wife, while waiting at home for the money every day also has no control on her spending. This is not hearsay. This is the reality. At the end of the day, a jeepney driver lacks money, no SSS, no 13th month pay, no Pag-ibig, no Philhealth, and no other benefits despite earning bigger than the factory worker.

A factory worker on the other hand, because of better financial management can even invest in a home through Pag-Ibig housing loan.

I know many jeepney drivers who earns more than P1,000/day and become penniless the other day if they cannot drive.

There are many high-paying jobs in the country and being a jeepny driver is one.

With better financial management and education, a jeepney driver can be financially better than a McDonalds or Jollibee store manager, a public school teacher, a government employee, or even  OFW. I have a friend who was a seafarer for six years. After he builds a house, he stopped sailing and decided to buy a jeepney. After 5 years, his one jeepney turned into five and eventually became a transport company.

One of the big reasons why the Philippines is poor is not because of lack of work and employment. It is because of lack of financial education and management. /Alvin Lat – Malvar, Batangas/

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