Bill penalizing cancelled online food deliveries takes shortcut

Published June 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Ellson Quismorio

AKO-Bicol Party-List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. has taken a shortcut that will ultimately hasten the institutionalization of his well-received bill criminalizing the act of canceling confirmed food and grocery deliveries that were booked online.

AKO-Bicol Party-List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
AKO-Bicol Party-List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.

During the House Committee on Trade and Industry’s virtual hearing Thursday, Garbin sought to have his measure, House Bill (HB). No.6958, the proposed Food and Grocery Delivery Services Act, consolidated with Valenzuela City 2nd district Rep. Weslie Gatchalian’s HB No.6122, the proposed Internet Transactions Act.

The wisdom behind Garbin’s move is that HB No.6958 has yet to be referred to a committee for action, while HB No.6122, a very similar measure in nature, has already been tackled in four hearings and is nearing committee approval.

“Since the purpose and objective [of my bill] belongs to the functional jurisdiction of the Committee on Trade and Industry, I signify my willingness [for] that bill to be consolidated [with] the bill being discussed right now. So moved,” he said.

Gatchalian, the panel chairman, carried the motion. “I’m very much supportive of the bill,” he said.

The Valenzuela solon acknowledged that the two bills are related in nature.
The Garbin measure, which gained a lot of traction in social media for its timeliness, deems it unlawful for any customer to cancel confirmed orders for the delivery of food and/or grocery items when such items have already been paid for or is already in the possession of the delivery rider or otherwise is in transit to the customer.

“This also covers instances wherein customers order food or grocery items for the purpose of pranking or those who have genuine intention of availing of the service which causes damage and undue duress to the delivery riders and their corresponding service providers,” HB No.6958 stated.

These acts will be slapped with a penalty of prison mayor or at least six years of imprisonment and a fine amounting to P100,000.

The violator will also be required to reimburse the food and delivery service providers for the value of the items advanced by the rider and pay the provider an amount of money double the fee pertinent to the canceled transaction.

“Sa ngayon, nakikita natin na talagang laganap yung pambibiktima, lalung lalo na yung mga delivery drivers na nabibiktima ng prank calls and unreasonable cancellations. Hindi naman lahat gumagamit ng credit cards so ang nag-aabono, yung delivery drivers (Right now we see the rampant victimization of delivery drivers from prank calls and unreasonable cancellations. Not all customers use credit cards to pay so it’s the delivery drivers who shell out the money),” Garbin explained to the panel.

“Madami yung demand ng services na iyon because of the quarantine that is being imposed nationwide. Kailangan silang maprotektahan (The demand for that service is high because of the quarantine that is being imposed nationwide. They should be protected),” he added.

Gatchalian’s bill, which is larger in scope, mainly provides for the creation of the eCommerce Bureau, which shall be designed as the government agency to handle complaints on all online-based transactions in the country.

The House panel will hold another hearing on June 18, after which, the provisions of the consolidated bill are expected to undergo fine-tuning in technical working group discussions.