PHILSTAR

HOUSE LAWMAKERS belonging to the progressive Makabayan bloc and Trade Union Congress Party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza filed resolutions calling for an inquiry on the working conditions of food and grocery delivery drivers.

Resolutions 1973 and 1974 were prompted by the recent incident involving riders in Davao City and food delivery platform Foodpanda Philippines

“Food and grocery services riders are currently considered as ‘freelancers’ thereby making them susceptible to such unfair and abusive labor practices such as unjust diminution of wages, are arbitrary punitive actions,” members of the Makabayan bloc said in Resolution 1973.

Mr. Mendoza’s Resolution 1974 urges the House Committee on Labor and Employment to probe whether there is an employer-employee relationship present in the business model of online delivery platforms.

“These delivery riders have helped to keep the economy moving, yet they have no clear compensation matrix guaranteeing just compensation, no standard protection benefits such as Pag-IBIG, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Social Security System coverage, no vacation leave, and insufficient or non-existent occupational safety and health standards,” Mr. Mendoza said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a message to BusinessWorld, said he welcomes the proposed investigations.

The Labor department, in a statement issued Tuesday, said riders in food delivery and courier services “are covered by either the Labor Code of the Philippines or the contract or agreement with the digital platform company, depending on the existence of an employer-employee relationship.”

It said Mr. Bello has issued an advisory clarifying that “delivery riders who are considered employees of the digital platform company are entitled to the minimum benefits under the Labor Code of the Philippines.”

However, “those deemed as independent contractors or freelancers shall be governed by their respective contracts or agreements with the digital platform company,” Mr. Bello said.

In late May, Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel also filed a resolution seeking a probe on the “gig-economy,” which includes delivery riders and other freelancers. — Russell Louis C. Ku and Bianca Angelica D. Añago