Hontiveros urges DOLE to protect delivery riders from unfair labor practices

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should issue guidelines and labor policies that would better protect and promote the welfare of delivery riders in the country and shield them from unfair labor practices.


Senator Risa Hontiveros pointed out on Monday, May 17, that delivery riders have helped ease the public’s transaction woes at the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when the government imposed community quarantine to combat the spread of the disease.

“Pero ang kapalit ng paghahatid ng ating mga order sa takdang lugar at oras, ay ang pagharap sa napakaraming panganib sa gitna ng paghahanapbuhay (But in return for their service of taking our orders in the right time and place, they are faced with so many kinds of risk as they pursue their livelihood),” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“DOLE should come up with guidelines that will provide riders with appropriate social protection coverage, including but not limited to basic pay and social protection coverage,” she appealed.

In November last year, hundreds of delivery riders of online food delivery app Food Panda filed a complaint before DOLE after they were treated by the company as mere freelancers. Another food delivery app reportedly left its riders with no compensation after it ceased operations last February.

Hontiveros said the DOLE should address such "unethical terms of employment", saying delivery riders must be considered as employees since mobile app operators have control over their operations.

This way, riders can avail of benefits under the law since they can only do so when they are formally classified as “employees.”

As an employee, they should be entitled to insurance and health benefits under the Social Security System (SSS), as well as the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“Pananagutan ng employer ang kahinatnan ng kanyang empleyado habang nasa kasagsagan ng trabaho (Employers ought to be responsible for their employees while they are working for them),” Hontiveros said.

“Hindi makatarungan na walang kalinawan kung sino ang may pananagutan sa ating mga delivery rider sakaling madisgrasya sila o magkasakit habang ginagampanan ang kanilang trabaho (It’s unfair that there is unclear who should be held responsible should our delivery riders get into an accident or fall ill while they are carrying out their job),” she pointed out.

On top of this, the senator said riders should be provided their own personal protective equipment (PPEs) and be given periodic testing for free by the logistics companies that employ them to help them against acquiring COVID-19 while on duty.

Hontiveros said she had written DOLE about the plight of a delivery rider who had contracted COVID-19 while on duty and had asked her office for help.

“DOLE should look into this. We believe that this is not an isolated case as there are other logistic companies that might also be neglecting the welfare of its employees,” she said.

“Let’s not forget that delivery riders are also frontliners. In the midst of this health and economic crisis, I think it’s not too much to provide for their protection. I hope we can reciprocate the service they offer to us,” she added.