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Lapid seeks protection for riders involved in food, grocery delivery

Senator Lito Lapid is calling for the passage of a measure seeking to protect riders who deliver food and grocery items to customers.

Lapid's proposal is contained in Senate Bill 1677, or the proposed "Food and Grocery Delivery Services Protection Act," which a joint Senate panel deliberated on Tuesday.

In his sponsorship of the measure, Lapid called the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to look into cases of cancellation of food deliveries to the detriment of riders.

He pointed out that many customers have become dependent on food deliveries amid the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet there are instances where customers do not show up when their orders arrive.

"Ito ay napapanahon at maraming nanloloko sa ating mga consumer lalong-lalo na itong mga driver. Hindi naman pala totoong umo-order, kawawa naman. Napeke sila, ititinda na lang sa mga kanto-kanto para mabili," Lapid said.

"Siguro dapat mabigyan ng pansin ito dahil ang mga Grab rider natin ay kawawang-kawawa naman sila. Sila ay naghahanap-buhay at kokonti lang ang kinikita," he added.

In response, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said the department has already issued advisories to the public to address incidents of "no-show" among buyers.

"We made advisories to make sure to take screenshots of the calls that were made or the text messages that were sent to them by the purported buyer. Tapos if they are willing and ready to execute a sworn affidavit to this effect, they can bring it to the DTI," she said.

For its part, Grab spokesperson Nicka Hosaka said that as early as August 2020, they have gradually rolled out a new policy where riders need not make advanced payment to the merchants for the orders of their customers.

"Nag-start kami, gradual yan, wherein our merchant partners or yung mga restaurants, diretso na ang payment sa kanila ng mga nag-oorder, wala nang nilalabas na pera ang ating mga riders," she said.

In fact, in the event merong, for example, hindi nag-claim ng kanilang order or yung tinatawag natin no-show, itong mga users na ito ay nagkakaroon sila ng penalty because we acknowledge, iba talaga yung service na ginagawa ng ating mga rider-partners," she added.

Meanwhile, FoodPanda public affairs manager Rose Romero said that their riders never paid cash in advance for the orders of their customers, as the payment goes directly to the merchants.

"Sa Food Panda, the system is we have an established device that is provided to our partner establishments and yun ang kumukuha ng orders na binibato ng app from customers. From there, diretsong pine-prepare. So hindi na kailangan pumunta ng rider doon para mag-order or even magbayad," she said.

Nevertheless, Romero hopes that the measure would include provisions to protect all players in the food delivery industry, including users, platform providers, merchants, riders, and consumers.

Last year, food delivery riders, in separate instances, were scammed in Las Piñas by people who used a food delivery service application for the scheme.  

Under Lapid's bill, food and grocery delivery service providers are mandated to establish a reimbursement scheme in favor of the riders covering the entire amount of money paid in advance for the purchase or ordered items.

In case an order is canceled, reimbursement to riders should be done within one day from cancellation.

The measure also requires customers to submit a valid proof of identity and residential address prior to registration with their mobile apps.

Any customer who cancels confirmed orders after the rider has paid for them, for at least three times in one month, will be penalized upon conviction with arresto mayor or a fine of up to P100,000, or both.

Last June, a measure seeking to penalize individuals who will cancel their orders through food and grocery delivery service providers has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Ako Bicol party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr. filed House Bill 6958, or the proposed "Food and Grocery Delivery Services Protection Act," which seeks to provide protection to individuals engaged in food and grocery delivery services.


-MDM, GMA News