Hopes up vs canceled orders, pranks

Talk of Leon Guerrero riding anew to fight injustice from reel to real life.

Food delivery riders are finally seeing hope of being provided protection against “unjustified” canceled orders and pranks by customers, with a bill filed by former action star and Senator Lito Lapid awaiting Senate approval.

Amid their bad experiences with arrogant or inconsiderate customers, most delivery riders have chosen to load up on patience in delivering food or goods right at their clients’ doorstep.

Lapid’s Senate Bill 38, entitled an Act Providing Measures to Protect Individuals Engaged in Food, Grocery, and Pharmacy Delivery Services, aims to protect delivery riders from abusive customers while ensuring fairness in their employment.

The senator has essayed the role of Guerrero on celluloid for decades, riding not a motorcycle but his trusty horse, Philippine movies’ version of Hollywood’s the Lone Ranger.

According to 21-year-old Manila-based Foodpanda rider Joselito Abaño, it is only right that riders like him be compensated for canceled orders or “no-show” customers.

“That’s a must as riders are always on the losing end when a customer cancels an order,” he said in Filipino, expressing hope that the bill would be enacted into law.

He added that riders spend time to complete the delivery but sometimes end up paying for unreceived orders.

“We spend a lot of time delivering only to see our efforts go to waste,” said Abaño, a working student who helps his family by earning an average of P25 to P40 per order.

“Not a single peso is given to us for canceled orders, fake bookings,” he lamented. “We’re at the losing end because we even have to return the order to the store when it’s canceled.”

Brothers Luis and Meliton Agbayani are riders who said they have spent more than P10,000 for orders by pranksters since they started with Grab Food in 2020.

“We have been victimized many times and we have no choice but to pay for the ordered food,” they said. Meliton said there was a time he had to resell the canceled food orders to a neighbor-friend.

Jomari Restor, a 35-year-old Grab delivery driver, said he braved a heavy downpour to get to a customer’s delivery address, only to find out that the order for medicines worth P2,100 was a cruel prank.

“I almost cried because it was my first delivery of the day and I used my daily capital for that order,” Restor said in the vernacular. “I lost P2,100 and had to borrow from a loan shark to get going that day, so I can buy milk for my seven-month-old baby.”

Aware of struggles

Under Senate Bill 38, the service provider would be the one to pay the delivery rider service fee in case of cancellation of confirmed orders.

“I know the struggles of our delivery riders, that is why with this bill, I will push for their protection so they would not be taken advantage of in their job,” Lapid said.

The measure seeks to prohibit any food, grocery, and pharmacy delivery service providers to require delivery riders to advance any monetary amount for the fulfillment of orders.

It further proposed that any investigation conducted by the service providers on the propriety or validity of the cancellation shall not affect the right of the riders or drivers to collect their service fees.

Under the bill, food, grocery, and pharmacy delivery service providers who will violate the prohibition on requiring monetary advances from delivery riders or drivers may be sentenced to up to six months in prison, and/or imposed a fine not exceeding P100,000.

Their licenses and permits to operate may also be revoked, it added.

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