Senator urges better protection for gig workers after delivery man’s death

November 7, 2022 | 2:57 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros called again on Monday for the passage of the bill giving stronger protections to delivery workers after one was found dead while resting on his motorbike. .

It comes after Noel Escote was found dead on his motorcycle in Pasig City over the weekend. A police report cited in an Inquirer report pointed out that “no external injuries were noted” on cursory examination.

“Let his death be a wake-up call to our colleagues in the legislature to act immediately on pending bills that will ensure the rights and welfare of the growing number of workers in the economy are respected. request,” Hontiveros said in a statement sent to reporters. Monday.

Hontiveros also asked Lalamove, Escote’s company, to assist the rider’s family, pointing out that the latter “died while fulfilling his duty as a delivery courier”.

She also revealed that her office received a letter from Escote’s family asking for help in taking their grievance to the company.

“Noel is an example of a Filipino who tries to deliver to meet the needs of his family. So I call on Lalamove and Noel’s family to provide assistance to his orphan so that he can at least receive a decent burial,” Hontiveros said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Last month, the senator introduced Senate Bill No. 1373 or the Protektadong Online Workers, Entrepreneurs, Riders at Raketera or POWERR Act to protect the rights and welfare of workers in the online economy. demand, including delivery workers and freelancers facing low wages and precarious working conditions.

Under this measure, skilled workers are enrolled in government welfare programs such as PhilHealth, SSS, Pag-ibig, among others. Online platforms targeted by the bill will also be held liable for injuries sustained by workers in the line of duty, especially delivery people.

“Currently, delivery people are categorized as ‘independent contractors’ as opposed to employees. Therefore, they do not qualify for social protection under our labor laws. Nor is there any of clear accident and sickness insurance policy, so it is good to pass the law to fill the said gaps,” Hontiveros said in Filipino.

“Let there be no more lives sacrificed until their grievances are satisfied. Immediate action is needed to prevent such incidents, especially as more and more people enter this type of occupation. “

In July, Rep. Bernadette Herrera (Bong Henerasyon party list) in the House of Representatives re-tabled the ‘E-Commerce Delivery Staff Magna Carta’ proposal to protect delivery people from canceled orders and joy shoppers. .

Earlier still in the enhanced community quarantine, stories of delivery people being fined by law enforcement at checkpoints for delivering ‘non-essential’ goods went viral on social media, along with another video of a man arrested outside his home while picking up food from a delivery man.

Earnest L. Veasey