Lalamove says the help was given after the horseman died; the senator criticizes the company

MANILA — Courier company Lalamove said on Tuesday it had provided assistance to the family of one of its “partner drivers”, who Senator Risa Hontiveros said was found dead while resting on his motorbike.

“From what we understand Mr. Escote was not fulfilling orders on the day of the incident, however, we understand that Lalamove is a crucial source of income for his family and the immense impact of the tragedy” , Lalamove said in a statement.

On Monday, Hontiveros made fresh calls for the passage of a bill to strengthen protections for workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ following the death of Noel Escote last November 1. .

Hontiveros said Escote “passed away while fulfilling his duty as a delivery boy.”

Escote’s partner wrote to Hontiveros asking for help asking for Lalamove’s help.

Lalamove said Tuesday that “our team contacted Mr. Escote’s son to provide immediate assistance once we were made aware of the tragedy.”

“We are in ongoing conversation with the family to understand their situation and have provided additional assistance and financial support, to help them through the difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” the company added.

HONTIVEROS SLAMS LALAMOVE

However, Lalamove’s statement did not sit well with Hontiveros, who said it “added insult to injury”.

“The company’s statement that he ‘wasn’t performing orders on the day of the incident’ adds insult to injury. On the day he tragically lost his life, Mr Escote chose to drive his motorcycle to get to work, even on vacation, and waited for someone to book his service as a Lalamove rider. He deals with the delivery people who place the order, does not deliver the order,” Hontiveros said Tuesday.

(The job of delivery people is to wait for orders, not just fulfill them.)

Hontiveros said Escote’s death proves the need for a clearer policy regarding gig economy workers.

“This precisely demonstrates the need for a policy and legal regime for gig economy workers to prevent further abuses and finally shed light on these gray areas,” she said. declared.

Last month, Hontiveros introduced Senate Bill 1373 or the Protektadong Online Workers, Entrepreneurs, Riders at Raketera (POWERR) Act to protect the rights and welfare of workers in the gig economy. , including delivery workers and freelancers, who face low wages and precarious work. conditions.

A key point of the said measure is to ensure that these workers are enrolled in government social protection programs such as PhilHealth, SSS and Pag-IBIG, among others.

In addition, online platforms will be held liable for injuries suffered by workers in the performance of their duties, particularly among delivery people.

“Huwag naman sanang may buhay pa ulit na masakripisyo bago matugunan ang kanilang hinaing. Kailangan ng agarang aksyon upang maiwasan ang mga ganitong pangyayari lalo pa’t dumarami pa ang pumapasok in ganitong klase ng hanapbuhay,” Hontiveros said.

(I hope we can answer their pleas before another life is sacrificed. Immediate action is needed to prevent this incident, especially as more and more people turn to this work.)

Earnest L. Veasey