Hontiveros urges DOLE to address labor abuses reported by food delivery drivers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 19, 2021   •   233

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros is urging the Department of Labor and Employment to address the issue of labor abuses reported by food delivery drivers.

The senator made the call after food delivery app Food Panda suspended at least 500 accredited riders in Davao City after participating in a unity ride in support of other riders who were suspended and denied access to the mobile app for 10 years.

The group is also complaining about the recent fare adjustment which significantly decreased their earnings to as low as P20.00 per ride.

Nananawagan ako sa DOLE na aksyunan agad ang hinaing ng ating delivery riders na nakararanas ng panggigipit sa mobile app operators,” she said.

(I am urging DOLE to address the complaints of our delivery riders who are experiencing problems with mobile app operators.)

Hontiveros called on DOLE to look into the plight of food delivery riders in Davao. She said there should also be guidelines and labor standards to protect the welfare of the riders.

“Failure to act on such grievances is negligence on the part of the government,” she said.

The senator also filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the working conditions of the so-called ‘gig economy’, which includes delivery riders, to address labor issues surrounding the emerging sector. AAC



Villanueva pushes for Freelance Workers Protection bill

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Amid the suspension of food delivery drivers, Senator Joel Villanueva is pushing for the Freelance Workers Protection bill to protect workers under freelance arrangement.

Villanueva raised the importance of food delivery drivers as essential workers during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He also called for the issuance of guidelines from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and a directive from the President to ensure protection and just compensation of food delivery riders and other “freelancers in the gig economy” while legislation to cover these workers is underway.

The Freelance Workers Protection bill, or Senate Bill No. 1810 seeks to define and recognize workers under freelance arrangement. Freelance workers, under the measure, include food couriers and delivery riders.

“Trade and commerce have evolved as the pandemic hastened the use of gig platforms from food to grocery shopping. Our laws must capture new work arrangements which is why in the Senate, we have pushed for the passage of the freelance workers protection bill and the digital workforce competitiveness bill,” he said.

The senator said DOLE can issue a department order to provide immediate relief to food delivery workers and other workers in the gig economy.

Villanueva said services provided by workers in app-based platforms “who are basically paid on a per transaction basis will outlast the pandemic and shall become part of the way we buy and sell goods.” AAC




DOLE mediates conflict between riders, food delivery company over ‘offboarding’ issue

Marje Pelayo   •   July 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has stepped in to settle the conflict between a food delivery service company and its partner riders over issues of ‘offboarding.’

During the Laging Handa press briefing on Wednesday (July 21), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they have set a dialogue for both parties to hear their sides of the story.

“Iyong tungkol sa 10 years suspension, inamin naman ng Foodpanda na glitch ito nung kanilang communication line, technical difficulty nila iyan,” Bello said, adding that the imposed 10-year suspension for the affected riders has been lifted.

“Naayos na rin iyan wala na iyong 10-year suspension. In fact, out of the 2,500 riders, 36 na lamang ang hindi pa bumabalik sa trabaho. Wala na pong problema,” he added.

But according to Davao United Delivery Riders, there are still around 43 who still cannot access the food delivery app.

They said, all they want is to have a decent income and to be appropriately compensated for their services.

The riders’ group argued that their service rate for the first 23 kilometers has been lowered from P50 in 2020 to P23 this year.

“Demands po namin, unang-una, ibalik yung access ng mga kasama namin yung mga natanggalan, iyong mga na-suspend ng 10 years. Saka ibigay din iyong sa earnings. Taasan nila. Iyong ilang araw kami na hindi nakaduty, manghihingi din kami ng ano, bayaran kami,” Edmund Carillo, the group’s president said.

Foodpanda earlier insisted that they are giving appropriate rates to their riders which are even higher than what the competition is offering.

In relation to the issue, DOLE is issuing a labor advisory to guide and remind both the riders and the food service company of their respective obligations. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Repatriated OFWs from countries on travel ban list to undergo stricter screening — DOLE-

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is imposing stricter screening of Filipino repatriates following the surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said, all repatriates are required to undergo RT-PCR testing twice.

“Bago sila makaalis doon ay kailangan meron silang testing na. Pagka negative, pwede na silang umalis doon at pagdating dito, panibagong quarantine at panibagong testing,” he said.

Countries covered by the travel ban are: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.

Bello said they are also looking into including Thailand and Malaysia in the list of countries. The government is closely monitoring the status of transmission in the said countries of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that upon arrival in the Philippines all OFWs — even the vaccinated ones — are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. They will only be allowed to go home when they test negative for COVID-19.

All vaccinated OFWs coming from countries without travel bans will have a shorter quarantine period of seven days upon arrival.

“Sabi naman ng Department of Health, matapos ang ika-10 araw ay napakaliit na ng tsansa na dala pa nila yung virus. So sa tingin namin na ayon sa mga dalubhasa ng DOH, safe na yung 14 days,” explained Cacdac.

The official said, there are about 3,000 Filipinos for repatriation from countries covered by the travel ban. From the said number, three batches have already returned to the Philippines.

Cacdac said they are now discussing the additional amount to be requested from the national government as they are now close to depleting their repatriation funds by September. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


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